Women and men are equal
Google fired software engineer James Damore for writing a 10-page memo critical of the company’s diversity policy. The memo violated the company’s code of conduct by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes” by suggesting that biological factors were part of the cause for the male/female gap in the tech industry.
I shall make the case that Google’s actions were totally justified. Other than differences in certain physical attributes such as genitalia, capacity to give birth and the presence of functional mammary glands, males and females are identical in every other respect. Any remaining male/female differences are a direct result of oppression, discrimination and victimization by the larger society. To examine just one aspect of female victimization, let’s examine the majors of female college students compared to their male counterparts.
According to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there are significant sex differences in college majors. For example, though women and men are equally represented in the population at large, women make up only 17 percent of engineering degrees conferred compared to 83 percent conferred to men. How can such a gross disparity be explained? I recommend an investigation to discover whether colleges are steering women away from higher-paying fields such as engineering and into lower-paying fields such as education and social sciences. Seventy-seven percent of education majors are women and so are 64 percent of social sciences majors.
One wonders how such a disparity among equals can exist. I have personally visited George Mason Univeristy’s Volgenau School of Engineering. There are no signs forbidding women from becoming an engineering major. But just because there are no visible prohibitions doesn’t mean there is no evil plot against women. A number of years ago, I took a tour of UC Berkeley College of Engineering. Not only did I observe a paucity of women but also, because of the racial appearances of the students in some of the classes, I could have easily been in Asia. Colleges have the power to ensure that there are just as many female as male engineering majors. They can mandate that fewer female freshmen major in social sciences and education and instead major in engineering. To balance this all out they can disallow large numbers of men from majoring in engineering and instead force them to major in education or the social sciences.
Although Damore’s memo was seen by Google as “advancing harmful gender stereotypes,” at least he didn’t make any suggestion of male/female IQ differences. Doing so would have led not only to his firing but being ordered to leave the state of California. A number of studies show that male IQ has greater variance than female IQ. In other words, female IQs show less variance and cluster toward the middle. Males IQs have more variance and therefore occupy the extreme high and low ends on the intelligence scale. That boils down to the fact that there are more male than female geniuses. But on the down side there are more male than female morons. Since men run the IQ tests and probably rig it against women, the claim that there are more male geniuses could be bogus.
Kay S. Hymowitz’s City Journal (summer 2011) article, “Why the Gender Gap Won’t Go Away. Ever,” shows that female doctors earn only 64 percent of what male doctors earn. But it turns out that only 16 percent of surgeons are women, whereas 50 percent of pediatricians are women. Even though surgeons have put in many more years of education and training than pediatricians and earn higher pay, should their salaries be equalized? Alternatively, medical schools might force more female medical students to become surgeons and force male students to become pediatricians to promote wage equality.
You say, “Are you serious, Williams? Or are you making light of the Google firing of James Damore?” My vision is that Damore has the right to say whatever he wishes about the company’s racist and sexist diversity policy, and Google has the right to fire him for saying it.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.