For years IBM has run a magazine ad showing two pairs of colored infant booties,
pink and blue, with the question "GUESS WHICH ONE WILL GROW UP TO BE THE
ENGINEER." Underneath there is this:
As things stand
now, it doesn't take much of a guess. Because by and large, he is encouraged
to excel in math and science. She isn't.
Whatever the reason for this discrepancy, the cost to society is enormous
because it affects women's career choices and limits the contributions they
might make. Only 4% of all engineers are women. Only 13.6% of all math and
science Ph.D.'s are women. An encouraging, but still low, 26% of all computer
professionals are women.
In the past ten years, IBM has supported more than 90 programs designed to
strengthen women's skills in these and other areas. This support includes
small grants for pre- college programs in engineering, major grants for science
programs at leading women's colleges, and grants for doctoral fellowships
in physics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and materials
We intend to continue supporting programs like these. Because we all have
a lot to gain with men and women on equal footing. IBM
What IBM thinks
of as the promotion of equality is better understood as the undermining of
hypergamy, one of the pillars of the patriarchal system. Hypergamy, or the
"marriage gradient," means that women "marry up," men "marry down." A cinder
girl may hope to marry Prince Charming, but a chimney sweep cannot hope to
marry Princess Charming. A male doctor might well marry a female nurse, but
a female doctor would hardly consider marrying a male nurse. The female nurse
may be underpaid, but in the marriage market her prospects are better than
those of the female doctor because there are more desirable males she can
hope to "marry up" to.
The social implications of the IBM program may be suggested by asking some
other questions concerning the possessors of the blue and pink booties:
GUESS WHICH ONE
IS TWENTY-FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO END UP IN JAIL.
GUESS WHICH ONE IS MORE LIKELY TO END UP ON SKID ROW.
GUESS WHICH ONE IS MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT SUICIDE.
GUESS WHICH ONE IS MORE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A CRIPPLING ACCIDENT, TO BECOME
AN ALCOHOLIC, A DRUG-ADDICT.
implies that society's arrangements tilt in favor of males. The fact is that
society's arrangements produce more male winners and more male losers. One
principal reason for the success of the male winners is the knowledge that
they might well be losers: they must earn their success and are motivated
to earn it partly by the greater risk of failure. IBM proposes to intervene
in society's arrangements to confer benefits on females which will increase
the number of female winners without increasing the number of female losers.
What will increase is the number of male losers, since the male engineers
will be competing not only with each other but with females enjoying a conferred
advantage denied to males. Another question:
WHICH ONE WILL
BE PRIVILEGED TO ATTAIN STATUS BY MARRIAGE AND WHICH ONE WILL HAVE TO EARN
IT FOR HIMSELF/HERSELF BY WORK AND SELF-DISCIPLINE?
With IBM interfering
with "market forces" this question might have to be re-worded: "attain status
by marriage or by IBM's largess." As IBM offers women more status, marriage
has less to offer them-- men have less to offer them. Men's marriageability
is decreased because they have relatively less to offer women; women's
marriageability is decreased because they have fewer men to "marry up" to.
As IBM transfers status from those more dependent on work and self-discipline
to those less dependent on work and self- discipline, men will become less
motivated, since the rewards for work and self-discipline are reduced. The
effect, though at a higher level of income, will be what is observable in
the ghetto, where women enjoying the handouts of the welfare bureaucracy
and become economically and status-wise independent of men, with the consequence
that large numbers of men become de-motivated and less marriageable.
Two more questions:
WHICH ONE IS MORE
LIKELY TO DIVORCE HIS/HER SPOUSE? WHICH ONE WILL HAVE HIS/HER LIKELIHOOD
OF DIVORCE INCREASED BY A FACTOR OF FIVE IF HE/SHE IS EDUCATED AND ECONOMICALLY
of IBM's favors to females can be found on page 42 of Nickles and Ashcraft's
The Coming Matriarchy:
[Those women] who
work prefer smaller families, and fewer children means more time to devote
to personal and nondomestic interests. Our survey revealed that the working
woman not only prefers a smaller family but, in fact, fewer have children.
Only 61 percent of the working women we surveyed had children, compared with
85 percent of the nonworking women....Our survey also showed that working
women have less successful marriages....[A] woman who works was five times
as likely to have a disrupted marriage as one who did not work....[W]orking
wives are more than twice as likely as housewives to have had affairs by
the time they reach their late thirties....Researchers have found that the
longer a wife is employed, the more both partners think about divorce--an
increase of one percentage point for each year of her employment. Things
get worse as she earns more money. Vassar economist Shirley Johnson calculated
that every $1,000 increase in a wife's earnings increases her chance for
divorce by 2 percent....These working women, who earn $20,000-plus, are the
most likely of all women to be separated or divorced.
According to research by three Yale sociologists, "women wed to less-educated
or younger men had marital dissolution rates at least 50% greater than those
marrying similarly educated or older men. Better-educated husbands brought
no increased risk to the marriage....
high-achieving executive women, Edith Gilson says:
When we turn to
our women's private lives, we see more reasons for distress. Surely, some
of their career frustrations could be offset by the emotional support of
husbands and children...but for a startling number of the women, marriage
and children are comforts they live without. According to this study, the
odds that an executive woman will never marry are four times greater than
for the average American woman. Only 5 percent of most women age thirty and
up have never wed (the 1985 Census), whereas 21 percent of our executive
women have never been brides.
Even if our women do marry, the probability of their divorcing is twice as
great as the norm. Thirty percent are currently divorced, and another 10
percent are on second or third marriages. Forty percent of all our women
have therefore been divorced--compared with just 20 percent of most women
in their same age range.
The differences between our women and their male peers are even more striking.
Less than half (48 percent) of our women are currently married--compared
with a whopping 96 percent of executive men....What's more, just 11 percent
of the men have been divorced, compared with nearly four times as many of
Many of the women I interviewed felt that men couldn't handle being married
to women as or more successful then they. "Here we've gone and sweat blood
to become independent, to become women the men can have intelligent conversations
with-- and they don't want us!" lamented Laura, the pretty magazine editor.
A man's friends would never congratulate him for "marrying up." They would
make jokes about his eligibility for membership in the Dennis Thatcher Society,
an organization "honoring" the husband of the British Prime Minister. On
the other hand, one of the most damning things a woman's friends can say
of her (behind her back, naturally) is "Margaret married beneath herself."
Let's project IBM's
program into the future. Let's suppose the wearers of the blue and pink booties
grow up and both become engineers. Then:
IS MORE LIKELY TO BE CHILDLESS?
IF BOTH MARRY, WHICH IS LIKELY TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM
HIS/HER SUPERIOR EDUCATION?
thought as IBM thinks: families would make great sacrifices to educate their
sons, few sacrifices to educate their daughters. She failed to understand
the reason: education enables sons to have families, to provide for wives
and children who would benefit from the sons' education economically and
by the transmission of the knowledge and the values embodied in the education.
Educating daughters does not enable them to provide for husbands, and greatly
decreases likelihood of their having stable marriages. The birthrate of educated
women is far lower than the birthrate of educated men. (Ms. Woolf herself
was childless, as are most feminists.) What Bernard Lentz says of professional
men and women of the period l890-l940 is true of other eras:
Even for the
"superperformers" [the most successful professional women]...marriage still
led to diminished success, resentment, and a distracting tension in their
personal lives. In contrast, men at this time found marriage had numerous
advantages in their climb up the professional hierarchy....
Ergo, society has
a greater interest in encouraging and furthering the education of males.
Educating a boy enables him to have and to support a family, to give children
an advantage in life, to transmit family values and strengthen the patriarchy,
to create social stability. Educating a girl enables her to escape marriage,
or if she marries, to escape childbearing or to have a smaller family. Education,
which increases her independence, will enable her more easily to expel her
husband and inflict upon her offspring (whose custody is virtually guaranteed
her) the disadvantages accompanying fatherlessness. Feminists see these options
as desirable, but why should IBM or the rest of us see them as desirable?
Hypergamy worked the same way four thousand years ago. Feminist Dr. Elise
Boulding writes of "Urbanization, the Rise of the State and the New Conditions
for Women" in the second millennium B. C.:
What I have been
describing is certainly not "equality" for women. Military action became
increasingly important throughout the second millennium, and each new arms
levy, each new conscription of soldiers, and each new round of booty brought
home from a successful war, would enhance the power differential between
women and men of the elite. The women's access to the new resources was far
more limited than that of men. Power was shared, but not shared equally.
equally--meaning that the women didn't share equally with the victorious
males, the males who took the risks and endured the ardors of military life
and earned the booty. How much of the booty was earned by the women? None,
and that is why they were lesser sharers. For every victorious male there
was a defeated male who lost the booty and perhaps his freedom or his life.
Dr. Boulding makes no comparison between women and these male losers--just
as feminists see themselves discriminated against by the absence of women
in the Senate and the upper echelons of corporate power and the engineering
profession, but choose not to notice that there is a similar absence of women
in prison and on Skid Row. IBM's question, carried back four millennia, would
be: "Which one is more likely to earn booty?" Another relevant question would
be: "Which one is more likely to have booty conferred upon him/her?" IBM's
implied argument is: Since men are more likely to earn benefits, women deserve
to have more benefits conferred upon them.
Feminist-economist Dr. Barbara Bergmann offers a little paradigm-story about
Pink People and Blue People earning their living by picking berries on an
island. Like women and men in our own society the Pinks and Blues have
sex-segregated occupations. Dr. Bergmann thus illustrates "the crucial point":
If a group is
segregated and furthermore is crowded into a relatively narrow segment of
labor-market turf, its members will as a result be less productive, and their
economic rewards will be lower.
(It is a sufficient
refutation of this to point out that Senators are a segregated group occupying
a narrow segment of the labor-market turf, but they do not suffer from low
economic rewards.) She continues:
The line of argument
will be made clearer if we resort to a simplified example. Consider an island
inhabited by the two tribes of people, the Pinks and the Blues, both of whom
make their living gathering berries....If all gatherers were allowed to range
over the whole island, individual gatherers' yields would vary with their
talent, energy, and luck. Given our assumption that the two tribes have equal
average talents, the average yield per gatherer would be the same in both
However, suppose the island's territory was partitioned between the tribes,
so that gatherers were allowed to pick berries only in the territory assigned
to their tribe. Were each tribe assigned a share of the territory about
proportional to its size, and of equal average quality per acre, then again
the yield per gatherer in the two tribes should be about the same. However,
suppose the Blue tribe were to be assigned exclusive possession or a
disproportionately large share of territory. In that case, the work of members
of the Blue tribe would on average bring in a greater yield than the work
of members of the Pink tribe. If the land the Blue tribe got was higher in
quality than the Pink's, the Pink tribe's disadvantage would be greater still.
Blues like to imagine they don't discriminate against the Pinks:
The way things
are arranged on our mythical island, no one says to a Pink worker, "Because
you are a Pink, we will see to it that you get less than a Blue." The mechanism
that arranges for Pinks to get less is a set of rules about who may work
where. As long as everyone follows the rules and all hands keep to their
place, the Pinks will average less production per person than the Blues and
will take home less "pay" for their efforts.
The restriction of the Pinks to a relatively small territory reduces the
efficiency of labor on the island as a whole. The total number of berries
picked on the island would rise were the territorial restrictions on the
Pinks to be relaxed. If some Pinks were allowed into the Blues' territory,
it would relieve the overcrowding in the Pinks' part of the island.
is that there is a labor shortage--one in high status occupations--never
an unemployment problem.
If a boatload of social scientists were to visit the island portrayed in
our example, they might hear from theoreticians belonging to the Blue tribe
that its success was a sign of innately superior talent and greater attention
to business. They might also hear that all Pinks voluntarily restricted
themselves to their own territory. If, however, these social scientists observed
the segregation of the two tribes, the relative devices used to keep Pinks
from infiltrating Blue territory, they might very well conclude that the
inequality of rewards was connected to the exclusion of Pinks from the Blues'
What they would notice, if the Blues and Pinks resembled men and women, is
the greater aggression and motivation of the Blues -- and that the island
society had organized itself to utilize this greater aggression and motivation.
Dr. Bergmann alludes to African societies which fail to do this:
There are certain
societies in Africa where women do all of the heavy agricultural work, all
of the business dealings, and all of the work of family care. The men are
at leisure full time. In such a society, presumably no tasks are unsuitable
for women. The designation of some jobs as unsuitable for women in any particular
society is a matter of social convention rather than a reflection of women's
inherent disabilities or inborn dislikes for certain kinds of work. People's
ideas about suitability can and do change when the economy changes.
The problem is
the waste of men's talents. Would Dr. Bergmann care to live in such a society?
The jobs are equally available to men and women, but the men will not take
them and therefore the society fails to thrive. There is no reason for men
to work and create wealth to make themselves attractive to women because
women work for themselves and because sex is unregulated and available to
men without their having to work. The goals of feminism have been achieved--and
society remains at the level of the Stone Age.
If men cannot outperform women they will not perform at all, and society
will be lucky if male energies are merely wasted in narcissistic display
rather than in disruptive violence and machismo. A man with nothing to offer
a woman save a paycheck the size of her own is impossibly disadvantaged.
He will know, and his wife will know that he knows, that the words "I don't
need you, Mister" are always at her disposal and, thanks to the anti-male
bias of the divorce court, she has an authority in the family greater than
his own. Patriarchal capitalism prospers because it creates an arena of work
wherein males are allowed to succeed and create wealth and where they are
motivated to do so and rewarded for doing so by the satisfactions of family
The key idea of the alternative matriarchal/feminist system is thus stated
by Faye Wattleton, President of Planned Parenthood:
Together we can
work to achieve the most important goal of Planned Parenthood--to give all
people the right and the ability to decide for themselves whether and when
to bear children.
All people signifies all female people. Wattleton demands the right of all
female people to deny to all male people any reproductive decision-making:
I believe that no woman, black or white, rich or poor, can ever truly be
free without the right to control her own reproductive life. [Emphasis added]
pitch for "reproductive rights" and Dr. Bergmann's pitch for taking better
jobs away from men to confer them on women come to the same thing: men are
excluded from meaningful participation in reproduction. Men become superfluous
members of families. The basis of civilized society is that men shall share
equally in reproductive decision-making, and shall earn the right to do so
by working. The program of feminism is to deny men this right by undermining
the sexual constitution, the Legitimacy Principle, marriage and the family.
When they talk about women's reproductive rights and about making women
economically independent of men, this is what they mean.
Annex to chapter I