Men in business should be willing to be alone with women — even if it threatens their careers. This apparently is the message of Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg.
Commenting on the deluge of sexual-misconduct allegations in the news, Sandberg applauds the new focus on intra-workplace propriety but then laments how this could rob women of opportunities, writing, “The percentage of men who will be afraid to be alone with a female colleague has to be sky high right now.” No doubt — but not as high as the screeching of feminist propaganda.
To illustrate how detached from reality that both news and commentary are on the Equality™ obsession, consider CNBC’s reporting on Sandberg’s lamentation. Explaining the result of men’s fear of being alone with female co-workers, its Marguerite Ward writes, “Isolating women would have many negative impacts, most tangibly, that women would lose out on mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.” The problem?
The source article Ward links to, from the Harvard Business Review, states that women are already more likely than men to be mentored. In fact, one woman the piece cites complained she was being “mentored to death”! (Pro tip for journalists: It helps to actually read your source material.)
It also would help if journalists read the right source material. Speaking of which, Ward writes of “the fact that women are already less likely to be promoted than men. They're also more likely to be underpaid.” Neither of these claims is actually a fact; even so, presenting facts (or approximations thereof) in isolation, political-sound-bite style, can mislead.
First, women aren’t underpaid — rather, they earn less because of the different career-choice decisions they make. I explained this in “Equal Pay for Equal Work Means Paying Men More,” as did Carrie Lukas in her 2007 piece “A Bargain At 77 Cents To a Dollar.”
The reality? On average, women work fewer hours than men, enter less lucrative fields (e.g., the soft sciences vs. the hard ones), are more likely to decline promotions citing familial concerns, are less willing to accept jobs requiring travel or relocation, and are more likely to prioritize flexibility and fulfillment over pay.
This difference in inclination is illustrated well in the excellent Norwegian documentary “The Gender Equality Paradox.” Among other things, it points out that women are more apt to enter stereotypically feminine fields in über-egalitarian Norway than in somewhat patriarchal India. Why? In poorer nations, survival imperatives compel women to go whether the money is (e.g., technology); in rich lands such as Scandinavia, women can afford to follow their hearts.
As for not using the head, Sandberg also laments that the “world has always been run by men, and it still is today” (is this a problem or a clue?). She continues, “Only thirteen countries and 6 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Just 13 percent of police officers are women, and only a few hundred are police chiefs. And less than 20 percent of the U.S. Congress is female.”
Of course, it’s also true that women are zero percent of the NFL, NBA, and NHL. Only seven percent of occupational deaths involve women because men take on the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs. Female fashion models typically get paid three times as much as their male peers. And only 18 percent of people killed by lightning are female. So what’s the point? Does Sandberg want to equalize everything? Or does she notice unequal outcomes only when she perceives that they redound negatively upon women?
In truth, inequality is a natural, unchangeable fact of life. Providing other examples of this, Dr. Walter E. Williams pointed out in 2013 that Jews are less than “3 percent of the U.S. population … [but] constitute a whopping 39 percent of American Nobel Prize winners.” Blacks amount to 80 percent of NBA players and 65 percent of the NFL, own 95 percent of the top sprinting times, but are only two percent of NHL players. And Americans of Asian descent score highest on the math portion of the SAT.
There are many, many other examples of unequal outcomes involving various countries and all different sorts of groups. In fact, there’s simply no historical record of, or precedent for, all groups performing equally in all worldly endeavors anytime, anywhere. Inequality is the norm because equality is not a thing of this world (as I explained here).
This is one reason why trying to force equality, as is the Left’s wont, is so dangerous: It amounts to fighting nature.
Speaking of which, Sandberg is critical of men who are reluctant to be alone with women. She then writes that “64 percent of senior male managers were afraid to be alone with a female colleague, in part because of fears of being accused of sexual harassment.” Yet this isn’t the only concern.
Perhaps a man just wants to avoid the appearance of impropriety, or maybe he knows such behavior makes his wife uncomfortable. Then, there’s also something, once well understood, called “an occasion of sin.” An example is a recovering alcoholic taking a bartender’s job.
Of course, such occasions (in the area of sex, anyway) are pooh-poohed today by “enlightened” libertines. This is why they integrated the sexes aboard naval vessels, despite the average age in the military being 19, and created “love boats” where last year 16 percent of the female sailors became pregnant. Hey, who could’ve seen that coming, right?
On the other hand, with leftist equality dreaming, maybe one day men will constitute 50 percent of the pregnancies. Then all will be right with the world.
Photo of Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl Sandberg — World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011, via wikipedia