Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ERA is an anachronism that promises radical unfairness in practice

There is a story in the local newspaper about the rebooting of the push to enact the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” for women. It may be true that the first efforts to pass the amendment in the 1920s until the 1960s that circumstances existed to justify its passage, but times and laws have changed considerably. 

The courts have gone far and beyond the “leveling” required to make things “equal” for women, in divorce, community property, child custody, anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws. Title IX is usually associated with sports, not enrollment that it was initially intended for. Why? Because women—particularly white women—have received preferential consideration in enrollment, apparently to alleviate perceived “inequality.” While “affirmative action” is almost wholly associated with underrepresented racial minorities, the reality is that white women were its principle beneficiary; today, white women are rather mendaciously the primary face of anti-affirmative action lawsuits against underrepresented minority groups.. 

The result of these laws and measures is that white woman have the lowest unemployment rates by far of any demographic—a quarter that of the “official” rates for black males, and that is likely an underestimation of its true level. Women have a significantly higher enrollment presence in colleges and universities. In an increasingly service-oriented economy, white women are clearly at an advantage, if only because of the “positive” perception that employers believe they exude for customers. 

I have already mentioned this incident before, but I will do so again because of its instructiveness of current reality: I was working for a temp agency when I was sent to a company that put together mailers, along with about two dozen other people. It was tedious work, but nothing hard or requiring special skills. At the end of the day, the supervisor decided he didn’t need all of us, so some of us wouldn’t be back the next day. He proceeded to count off all the people he would require, and told the rest of us not to return. The problem was that he counted only all of the white females present to come back to work. 

Today, the ERA is a feminist anachronism,  a propaganda tool to keep the movement “relevant.”  It is now seen as a mechanism to achieve perceived “pay equity”—meaning absolute equality in pay with men in the total stat sheet. But this ignores variables like comparative job skills and who occupies what positions in what numbers. Why should an office typist make as much as an industrial engineer? How do you decide what jobs are “equal” in educational and experiential  standards? Or is it all about self-obsession and politics?

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