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The Limits of Corporate Feminism

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The Limits of Corporate Feminism

National Review October 14, 2021
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Ever since its 1970s heyday, feminism has been in a co-dependent relationship with capitalism. Marxist-influenced ra­d­­icals may have wanted to smash the entire system and build a matriarchal-socialist utopia in its place. But a more prominent, and ultimately trium­phant, sister-cadre looked at the economic order around them and wanted to lean in — and lean in hard. They went to business school and law school, rose to partner, pitched Silicon Valley venture-capital big shots, got tenure, and took over the C-Suite at major media companies. Capitalists were happy; they had a large pool of talented new workers. And to an extent, women were happy; they had new opportunities to use their brains and talents, to have their own bank accounts, and to gain social status. But there was a glitch in this largely successful alliance: a gender wage and wealth gap that refused to go away.

No one has done a more impressive job of mining the details of these gaps than Claudia Goldin, Harvard economist and author of the deftly resear­ched but disappointing Career and Fam­ily. The book is not a standard-issue exercise in feminist finger-pointing. There is no talk of misogyny, and the word “sexism” makes only scattered appearances. On the contrary, Goldin lays out truths that some feminist activists will find inconvenient. Disc­­rimination exists, the professor writes, but it accounts for only 20 percent of the wage gap; a world wiped squeaky clean of sexism would still have women earning considerably less than men. Training more women to compete in STEM fields won’t change the numbers all that much either; occupational differences determine only a third of the existing gap. Goldin’s conclusion, one that may come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the relentless warn­ings about the gender wage gap, is that women are now paid the same as men for the same work once you factor in position and hours logged. The gaps that do remain cannot be closed by individual men and women or even by government policies.

Continue reading the entire piece here at National Review

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Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. She is the author of several books, most recently The New Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter here.

Photo by Blue Planet Studio/iStock

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