The Gender Inclusivity of Diverse White Privilege Equity

Blame Shiv for this one; she posted about someone at Monsanto inviting Jordan Peterson to talk about GMOs, and it led me down an interesting rabbit hole. For one thing, the event already happened, and it was the farce you were expecting. This, however, caught my eye:

Corrupt universities—and Women’s Studies departments in particular, he says—are responsible for turning students into activists who will one day tear apart the fabric of society. “The world runs on ideas. And the ideas that are in the universities are the ideas that are going to be in the general public in five to ten years. And there’s no shielding yourself from it,” he said.

Peterson also shared a trick for figuring out whether or not a child’s school has been affected by the coming crisis: If a schoolteacher uses any of the five words listed on his display screen—”diversity,” “inclusivity,” “equity,” “white privilege,” or “gender”—then a child has been “exposed.”

What’s Peterson’s solution for all this? “The answer to the ills that our society still obviously suffers from,” he said, is that “people should adopt an ethos of responsibility rather than continually clamoring about their rights, which is something that we’ve been talking about for about four decades too long, as far as I can surmise.”

Four decades puts us back into the 1970’s, when women’s liberation groups were calling to be able to exercise their right to bodily autonomy, to be free from violence, to equal pay for equal work, to equal custody of kids. If Peterson is opposed to that then he’s more radical than most MRAs, who are generally fine with Second Wave feminism. I wonder if he’s a lost son of Phyllis Schlafly.

But more importantly, he appears to be warning us of a crisis coming in 5-10 years, one that invokes those five terms as holy writ. That’s …. well, let’s step through it.

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Deeper and Deeper He Goes

The last few days have made it clear Trump has no minimum standards of ethics or decency, and it extends well beyond shitholes.

Trump condo sales that match [the US] Treasury [department]’s characteristics of possible money laundering totaled $1.5 billion, BuzzFeed News calculated. They accounted for 21% of the 6,400 Trump condos sold in the US. Those figures include condos that Trump developed as well as condos that others developed in his name under licensing deals that pay Trump a fee or a percentage of sales.

Some of the secretive sales date back more than three decades, long before recent worries that Russians tried to influence Trump by pouring millions of dollars into his businesses.

But a months-long BuzzFeed News examination of every Trump condominium sale in the US shows that such sales surged in the late 2000s and early 2010s, when some Trump businesses were in financial trouble and when Donald Trump Jr. made his now-famous remark about the Trump Organization seeing “a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

No wonder Trump marked his business as a red line that cannot be crossed, he’s likely been helping Russian oligarchs launder their money. And while Wolff has a less-than-stellar journalistic record, this sounds like something he taped (bolding mine).

It was clear where Mueller and his team were going, said Bannon: they would trace a money trail through Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Jared Kushner and roll one or all of them on the president.

It’s Shakespearean, he said, enumerating the bad advice from his family circle: “It’s the geniuses, the same people who talked him into firing Comey, the same people on Air Force One who cut out his outside legal time, knowing the email was out there, knowing that email existed, put the statement out about Don Junior, that the meeting was all about adoptions … the same geniuses trying to get Sessions fired.

“Look, Kasowitz has known him for twenty-five years. Kasowitz has gotten him out of all kinds of jams. Kasowitz on the campaign- what did we have, a hundred women? Kasowitz took care of them all. And now he lasts, what, four weeks? He’s in the mumble tank. This is New York’s toughest lawyer, broken. Mark Corallo, toughest motherfucker I ever met, just can’t do it.”

“Took care” of “a hundred women?” It sounds an awful lot like Kasowitz paid off hundreds of sexual harassment complaints against Trump. Given news just broke another of Trump’s lawyers may have paid $130,000 to a porn star to bury a sexual encounter, and that over a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment or worse is, it’s not that far-fetched.

No wonder Republican representatives are fleeing their party in record numbers. Who wants to share a party with Trump?


[2018/01/13 HJH] PZ Myers brings up an excellent point:

Which means that when a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, says she did not have sex with Donald Trump, you should believe her, barring any solid evidence to the contrary. It is a non-story. At its worst it might be a tale of consensual sexual interactions between two people, one of whom is sleazy and repellent (it’s not Daniels I’m talking about)…but as long as it’s consensual, it’s only their business.

This is nothing but an attempt to harm Donald Trump, an activity I might approve of, by associating him with the unfair disrepute of sex workers. All it can do is further damage the standing of sex workers in general and Stormy Daniels in particular, to no good end.

Still, I think I can mount a worthy counter-argument. The following is an edited version of a comment I posted, with a few more links added.

For one thing, the evidence that nothing happened consists of a letter being produced by Donald Trump’s lawyer. For decades, Trump has lied and openly defied the law; forging a letter wouldn’t be a big deal for him or his “pit bull” lawyer.

Secondly, sex workers almost never talk about their clients. We live in a culture which heavily shames them for their work, so clients usually demand discretion to protect their reputations from splash damage. Coming forward about Publicly naming a client would pretty much kill a sex worker’s career. Nonetheless, Daniels was in negotiations with two separate news organisations to discuss one of her clients before mysteriously cutting off contact. She must have had a good reason to go that far.

Thirdly, we have plausible reason to think something non-consensual happened. Trump has nineteen women claiming sexual harassment or worse against him. His time as owner of Miss Universe demonstrates his sub-human view of women, and those beliefs are correlated with likelihood of sexual assault. It’s quite plausible Daniels was forced into non-consensual acts, and even a sex-positive view of sex work would condemn that. It would also explain Daniels’ move to talk with news organisations, which came at a time when allegations of sexual assault against Trump were a news topic.

There’s a chance Daniels was just in it for the money, of course. But I think there’s reason enough to report on this story, above and beyond our society’s taboo about sex.

Intriguing Theory on the Pay Gap

I’ve heard a number of solid hypotheses to explain the gendered pay gap: unpaid care work,[1][2] the motherhood penalty,[3] or just straight-up discrimination.[4] This one is new to me, though.

Sexual harassment is well documented across many fields but women who work in men-dominated occupations and industries experience higher rates (Fitzgerald et al. 1997; Gruber 1998; McLaughlin, Uggen, and Blackstone 2012). The likelihood of harassment also increases with exposure to a wider range of employees (Chamberlain et al. 2008; De Coster, Estes, and Mueller 1999), and is higher among single women (De Coster, Estes, and Mueller 1999; Rosenberg, Perlstadt, and Phillips 1993), highly educated women (De Coster, Estes, and Mueller 1999), and women in positions of authority (Chamberlain et al. 2008; McLaughlin, Uggen, and Blackstone 2012). Because sexual harassment forces some women out of jobs, it likely influences their career attainment (Blackstone, Uggen, and McLaughlin 2009; Lopez, Hodson, and Roscigno 2009). Numerous studies link voluntary and involuntary career interruptions to significant earnings losses (Brand 2015; Couch and Placzek 2010; Theunissen et al. 2011).[5]

I hope you see where they’re going with this. Sexual harassment causes women to switch jobs or leave the workforce, but pay is usually linked to how long you’ve stayed in your job. Professions where women dominate have less of a sexual harassment problem, but are also viewed as “feminized” and thus worth less.[6] Even within a profession approaching gender parity, like lawyers in the UK, women can be marginalized.

However, optimistic prognoses of gender emancipation are somewhat challenged when considering that the mass entry of women to this profession has been characterized by patterns of vertical stratification and horizontal segmentation (Hagan and Kay, 1995; Sommerlad, 2002; Stake et al., 2007). Women solicitors are more likely to be in subordinate salaried positions, to work part–time, to practise in less prestigious and remunerative firms and legal specialisms and, more generally, to attract lesser terms and conditions. There is a clear pattern of vertical stratification whereby a growing cohort of predominantly female subordinates are confined to ‘a (frequently transient) proletarian role’ (Sommerlad, 2002: 217) and deployed to support the earnings and privileges of a relatively prosperous and autonomous elite of predominately male partners. Women, despite representing a growing majority of salaried solicitors (over 55 per cent of associate and assistant solicitors) and new entries to the profession, still constitute less than a quarter (23.2 per cent) of partners and the average female solicitor enjoys markedly less than half the chances of a male colleague to progress to partnership (17.6 per cent of women solicitors are partners against 39.5 per cent of their male peers) (SRU, 2006c).[7]

So if women switch to a career where they’re less likely to face harassment, or even start off there, they’re paid less than men for the same amount of work. It’s a brilliant theory, and that paper does find evidence in support of it.

In bivariate analyses, women who experienced unwanted touching or multiple harassing behaviors in 2003 reported significantly greater financial stress in 2005 (t = –2.664, p ≤ .01). Some of this strain may be due to career disruption, as harassment targets were especially likely to change jobs. As shown in Figure 1, 79 percent of targets as compared to 54 percent of other working women started a new primary job in either 2004 or 2005 (χ2 = 9.53, p ≤ .01). […]
In Model 2 of Table 2, we test whether the increased financial stress reported by harassment targets can be attributed to their greater likelihood of changing jobs. Analyzing consecutive waves of YDS data, we can establish clear temporal order between sexual harassment (2003), job change (2004–2005), and financial stress (2005). In addition to having a strong direct effect on financial stress (β = .582, p ≤ .01), job change reduces the effect of harassment below standard significance levels. Following Baron and Kenny (1986), we calculate that 35 percent of the total effect of sexual harassment on financial stress is mediated through job change (…). Targets of sexual harassment were 6.5 times as likely as nontargets to change jobs in 2004–2005, net of the other variables in our model (…).[5]

They caution that their data source is from a single cohort, thus it may not generalize, but I think the theoretical axioms are strong enough that it probably will. A similar effect could be happening with non-binary and transgender/transsexual people, too.

It’s also worth underlining that it’s foolish to think the gendered pay gap has one and only one cause; an economy with millions or even billions of actors is a highly complex system, so it’s unlikely to have simple explanations for patterns on that scale. A combination of the above factors is likely driving the gendered pay gap, and we’ll need complex solutions to solve it.


[1] Ferrant, Gaëlle, Luca Maria Pesando, and Keiko Nowacka. Unpaid Care Work: The Missing Link in the Analysis of Gender Gaps in Labour Outcomes. OECD Development Centre Issues Paper, 2014.

[2] Budlender, Debbie. The Statistical Evidence on Care and Non-Care Work across Six Countries. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Geneva, 2008.

[3] Benard, Stephen, and Shelley J. Correll. “Normative Discrimination and the Motherhood Penalty.” Gender & Society 24, no. 5 (2010): 616–646.

[4] Murphy, Emily, and Daniel Oesch. “The Feminization of Occupations and Change in Wages: A Panel Analysis of Britain, Germany and Switzerland,” 2015.

[5] McLaughlin, Heather, Christopher Uggen, and Amy Blackstone. “The Economic and Career Effects of Sexual Harassment on Working Women.” Gender & Society 31, no. 3 (2017): 333–358.

[6] England, Paula, Michelle Budig, and Nancy Folbre. “Wages of Virtue: The Relative Pay of Care Work,” 2001.

[7] Sharon Bolton, and Daniel Muzio. “The Paradoxical Processes of Feminization in the Professions: The Case of Established, Aspiring and Semi-Professions.” Work, Employment and Society 22, no. 2 (June 1, 2008): 281–99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017008089105.

Uh Oh

Apologies for setting off the fire alarm, but:

Francis Rooney (R-FL): I’m very concerned that the DOJ and the FBI, whether you want to call it deep state or what, are kind of off the rails. People need a good, clean government.

Hallie Jackson: Do you think people don’t have a good clean government? … There are those that look at comments, like the ones that you’re making, and say that Republicans are working to, essentially, try to discredit the Department of Justice and thus discredit the Russia investigations. Is that not what you’re doing?

Rooney: No, I don’t want to discredit’m. I, just, I would like to see the directors of the agencies purge it, and say, look, we’ve got a lot of great agents, a lot of great lawyers here. Those are the people I want the American people to see, and know the good works being done. Not these people, who are kind of the deep state.

Jackson: Language like that, congressman, “purge?” Purge the Department of Justice?

Rooney: Well, I think that Mr. Strzok could be purged, sure.

To put that in context, Peter Strzok exchanged a series of private texts with Lisa Page, while Strzok was part of Mueller’s Special Council investigation. Upon learning of the texts, Mueller removed him from the case. Just over three months later, a selection of those texts were released to Fox News and Republican lawmakers, who immediately seized on Strzok’s anti-Trump comments as proof of bias. Problem is, only a subset of those texts were ever released, from an active investigation into the situation, and the Department of Justice is refusing to answer important questions about them. Also, Strzok had a lot of opinions.

Regarding Clinton, Strzok once texted, “I’m worried about what happens if HRC is elected.” He also referred to Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, as “self-entitled,” and dismissed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I – Vt., as an “idiot.” Page also called Sanders supporters “idiots.” They also both had low opinions of President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, with Strzok writing it was “wildly offensive” for Holder’s portrait to be next to that of iconic Attorney General Elliott Richardson and insisting that a television be turned off when Holder spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

Page perhaps best summed up their worldview when she texted Strzok during lunch with an unidentified person: “We both hate everyone and everything.”

Finally, there’s no evidence Strzok’s private opinions had any influence on Mueller’s investigation of Trump! Remember the “active investigation” bit? When the texts were released to Republicans and Fox News, the DoJ had still not concluded an internal probe into the matter. Now that those texts have been hopelessly politicised, how can that investigation remain free of charges of bias?

And yet, based on that context, a Republican Congressperson is ready to “purge” the FBI of people like Strzok. People who, so far, are only guilty of privately saying mean things about the US President.

via GIPHY

We’re not even a year into Trump’s presidency, yet the United States is becoming an authoritarian state far faster than I thought possible. Others are catching on to this, too.

Note that the calls for a “purge” of the FBI and DOJ are becoming more explicit, actually using the word “purge” and moving from the right-wing publications to sitting members of Congress. A small part of this is simple partisanship, what threatens the leader of your political party is bad and needs to be attacked. But what we’re seeing goes far, far beyond that and can only be explained by the Republican right’s broader embrace of authoritarianism, which both predates Trump, accounts for his rise and has in turn been accelerated by his presidency.

This point is critical to remember. Trump’s flouting of democratic norms during the campaign was a core element, perhaps the core element, of his appeal. Support for Trump certainly wasn’t in spite of this. Nor was it incidental. We focus on Trump’s antics. They remain erratic and unbridled. But equally important, probably more important, is the absence of any overriding respect for the rule of law or democratic norms among his supporters. Functionally that means the entire Republican party, even if individual Republican officeholders may express a muted displeasure.

Others were way ahead of me.

Given that some of [Rep. Lindsey] Graham’s worst fears about Trump’s Kremlin ties and mental state have been legitimized, what accounts for the senator’s changed attitude toward the president? There are a variety of possible rationales available for conjecture, many of which apply to the GOP at large. Opportunism may play a role, as Graham complies with Trump in order to pursue right-wing extremist economic policies and war. Blackmail may also be an issue, given that Graham has admitted his email was hacked, as was the RNC’s, by Russia. Trump has derided and threatened members of Congress and private citizens, and it’s not a stretch to imagine him unleashing his fire– publicly or privately–on Graham.

Graham’s radical change in rhetoric is reminiscent of the behavior one sees in autocratic regimes when potential political opponents are mollified or threatened into compliance. But the truly troubling question is not what is driving his changed behavior, but what it means for the rest of the GOP, especially as speculation mounts that the Trump administration could end Mueller’s investigation and propagandists recast Republicans like James Comey and Mueller as enemies of the state. In 2016, Graham initiated the call for an investigation into Trump’s Kremlin ties. In 2018, judging by his recent actions, Graham may lead the way in ensuring there are no consequences for what investigators have discovered.

Either way, it’s time to panic. Americans, your democracy is rapidly degrading! There is no better time to become politically active, to petition your representatives, and push back against those that would rob you of political power. The rest of the world is counting on you, because the consequences will effect the rest of us.

Women’s Work

[I know, I’m a good three months late on this. It’s too good for the trash bin, though, and knowing CompSci it’ll be relevant again within the next year.]

This swells my heart.

LAURIE SEGALL: Computer science, it hasn’t always been dominated by men. It wasn’t until 1984 that the number of women studying computer science started falling. So how does that fit into your argument as to why there aren’t more women in tech?

JAMES DAMORE: So there are several reasons for why it was like that. Partly, women weren’t allowed to work other jobs so there was less freedom for people; and, also… it was simply different kinds of work. It was more like accounting rather than modern-day computer programming. And it wasn’t as lucrative, so part of the reason so many men give go into tech is because it’s high paying. I know of many people at Google that- they weren’t necessarily passionate about it, but it was what would provide for their family, and so they still worked there.

SEGALL: You say those jobs are more like accounting. I mean, look at Grace Hopper who pioneered computer programming; Margaret Hamilton, who created the first ever software which was responsible for landing humans on the moon; Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, they were responsible for John Glenn accurately making his trajectory to the moon. Those aren’t accounting-type jobs?

DAMORE: Yeah, so, there were select positions that weren’t, and women are definitely capable of being confident programmers.

SEGALL: Do you believe those women were outliers?

DAMORE: … No, I’m just saying that there are confident women programmers. There are many at Google, and the women at Google aren’t any worse than the men at Google.

Segall deserves kudos for getting Damore to reverse himself. Even he admits there’s no evidence women are worse coders than men, in line with the current scientific evidence. I’m also fond of the people who make solid logical arguments against Damore’s views. We even have good research on why computing went from being dominated by women to dominated by men, and how occupations flip between male- and female-dominated as their social standing changes.

But there’s something lacking in Segall’s presentation of the history of women in computing. She isn’t alone, I’ve been reading a tonne of stories about the history of women in computing, and all of them suffer from the same omission: why did women dominate computing, at first? We think of math and logic as being “a guy thing,” so this is terribly strange. [Read more…]

Citizens of the United States: You’ve been Hoodwinked

Remember that giant fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act from earlier this year? Where comedians weighed in with emotional appeals, mass protests led to mass arrests, politicians who voted against it were cheered by their constituents?

President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed the Republican tax overhaul has “essentially repealed Obamacare” but said officials “didn’t want to bring it up” until the legislation had already passed.

The individual mandate is being repealed. When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed because they get their money from the individual mandate,” Trump said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

He said the tax bill has “essentially repealed Obamacare,” though the legislation has eliminated a key provision of the health care law but not repealed it entirely, and claimed Republicans will come up with something that will be much better, whether it’s block grants or whether it’s taking what we have and doing something terrific.”

“We didn’t want to bring it up. I told people specifically, ‘Be quiet with the fake news media because I don’t want them talking too much about it,’” Trump said. “Because I didn’t know how people would — but now that it’s approved I can say the individual mandate on health care, where you had to pay not to have insurance, okay, think of that one, you pay not to have insurance. The individual mandate has been repealed.”

Emphasis mine. Taken at face value, Trump is claiming he deliberately hid his latest attempt to take away your health care away in a tax bill that primarily benefits wealthy donors to the Republican party, and with the help of Republicans managed to pull it off. That’s remarkably cruel.

It’s also untrue, as is usual for Trump.

Contrary to a statement that President Trump made Wednesday, nixing Obamacare’s individual mandate does not mean that Obamacare has been repealed in the GOP tax bill. The individual mandate, which requires most Americans (other than those who qualify for a hardship exemption) to carry a minimum level of health coverage, is actually still in effect for 2018—meaning that you may have to pay a steep tax fine if you don’t have health insurance, for one thing. And even after the individual mandate repeal goes into effect the following year, Obamacare’s individual insurance markets, federal subsidies to help Americans pay monthly insurance premiums, and Medicaid expansion in the dozens of states that implemented it will all still be in effect barring further Congressional action. […]

Ultimately, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate would cause 13 million fewer Americans to be insured in 2027 compared with current law, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Healthier and wealthier people may choose to forgo coverage, and even poorer, medically needy people may not sign up for insurance because they don’t know which options are available and there may not be the same sense of urgency to enroll without the mandate. The CBO also predicts that premiums in the markets would spike 10% without Obamacare’s individual mandate as the exchanges are left with a sicker consumer pool. However, for most Obamacare enrollees (those making between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level), an accompanying increase in federal subsidies will make up for higher premiums. Those making above that income level (about $48,000 for an individual or $98,000 for a family of four) will have to face the brunt of premium increases, though.

So in reality, repealing the individual mandate will either raise your health insurance or increase government spending. The latter might get solved with a tax hike or legislation which passes the cost back to you. All this was done so Republicans could lick Trump’s boots as they celebrate a windfall for millionaires, break promises to shore up health care, and pretend the hasty process hasn’t created a future shitstorm.

I hope to hell you aren’t gonna take that lying down, no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on.