Why White Men Blame Women For The Gender Pay Gap

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 Why White Men Blame Women For The Gender Pay Gap

I often get into little interwebby spats with – usually white – men who try to school me on gender biases and the gender pay gap. Their line of thinking tends to be that women would get paid exactly the same as men if only they worked full-time and chose career paths and industries that are better paid than the ones women now tend to congregate in. Oh, and they should negotiate, of course.

Now, whilst I do believe the latter is an extremely important life and professional skill that benefits anybody, especially women who don’t get taught this at any point in their life the same way boys do,  it IS a hard no on the other points.

And for the purposes of this short little tidbit, I won’t go into the details of why that is, though giybf.com will help you a long way there.

What I want to focus on now, is why these white men feel that the problem lies with women, and not themselves. As I have said many times before “privilege doesn’t know it exists”, ie people who enjoy privilege, often don’t recognise that reality.

Here’s a confirmation. Prof. Paul Puff of UC Berkeley in the USA ran a Monopoly study, where they rigged the game such that certain players were given twice the resources other players had, were given twice as many turns to roll the dice and whenever they passed “go”, were given twice as much money.

Obviously, they won most of the games…

What’s interesting is though, is that when they later interviewed the participants, these winners were twice as likely to attribute their success to ability, rather than, you know [insert eyeroll here], the game being rigged in their favour.

I’d kind of give them a pass on that, because as people, we often like to think that good things happen to us because we’re good people. However, where it gets ugly though, is that these winners were also twice as likely to attribute the lack of success of the players who weren’t granted all these privileges, to their own doing. In the winner’s opinions, the losers lost not because the game was rigged, but because they weren’t as good.

Ergo: acknowledging the system is rigged is clearly difficult for those that benefit from that system.

This is why, whenever people blame women for the gender pay gap, I laugh.

Sure, it’s not black and white situation where men / the patriarchy is solely to blame for the inequity.

AND it’s BS to say women are holding themselves back, they should simply do XYZ etc, ignoring the fact that the system is rigged against them.

(White) gentlemen, do everyone a favour and study the biases holding back every minority that is not white and male. (And hot tip: don’t ask them to teach you and thus take on more unpaid labour; do the work yourself – referring back to giybf.com here). And then take personal responsibility to right the wrongs in your corner of the world.

Thank you,

The Rest Of The World


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