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Science

Human Males Evolve At a Faster Pace Than Females 454

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-say-i'm-surprised dept.
Tisha_AH writes "A report by the Whitehead Institute indicates that the human Y chromosome present in males is evolving at a furious pace. Across the chromosome there can be as much as a 33% difference within humans alone. The portions of the chromosome evolving fastest are related to sperm production."
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Human Males Evolve At a Faster Pace Than Females

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  • by Laser_iCE (1125271) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:22AM (#30763614)
    Males masturbate more than females, amirite?
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:28AM (#30763682)
    Mod the whole article flamebait. The headline plays with the common association between "evolution" and "improvement" in order to gather angry responses and its fair share of taunting.
  • by mcvos (645701) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:30AM (#30763716)

    Males are not an independent population. And individuals don't evolve, so the notion of evolving males is silly.

    Evolution is something that happens in a population, not in an individual. The female part of out population likely benefits just as much from the continuous changes to the Y chromosome as the male part of the population. Evolutionary speaking, that is. It's unlikely any individual would really care.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:42AM (#30763874)

    >The cynical among us might say that we're finally catching up...

    Why is shit like this tolerated? If this was said about women then it would be sexist and marked as a troll. But when its about men, its "Interesting." Sadly, making fun of boys and men is standard fare in American society. Every sitcom and commercial has the smart wife and the idiot husband dynamic where the husband cant do something simple but the wife can.

    As an adult this doesnt bother me, I just feel sorry for kids growing up today believing this garbage and we wonder why so many of our boys end up as dropouts and criminals. Perhaps society shouldnt be painting them as morons 24/7 and let them develop some self-esteem.

  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:45AM (#30763924)
    That was not what I meant. The study is probably valid and based on sound science. My point is that the headline should be closer to the point in question "Y cromossome still mutates and mutates fast, contrary of what thought before", but that would not generate enough controversy to pay for this site through advertisement.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:45AM (#30763928) Journal

    It's not just that, but look at the engineering here...

    Testicles sit outside of the body (because sperm can't handle internal body temperatures for too long), so they get exposed to all kinds of fun stuff: radical temperature extremes, physical abuse, etc. Males generate new sperm all the time from scratch, and in huge frickin' numbers. Sperm cells are built to compete and operate at high energy, requiring high sugars just to survive (after all, they're literally shot into the vagina - or in most /.'ers cases, into something else).

    Women OTOH have all of their eggs tucked inside, deep in the abdomen, where they stay in a nice, consistent environment. IIRC, they also have all of their eggs present in their body when they are born. Women only drop like one egg a month (excepting twins, fertility drugs, etc), so there's no competition or rush for the egg cell as it drifts slowly down the uterus - either into oblivion or fertilization.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:47AM (#30763954)

    Some scientists suspect that masturbation is actually a method to help provide non-damaging trauma to the testes, which can help alter, over time, the DNA that is contained within the spermatozoa.

    In the wild, some testicular trauma is expected as part of everyday life. When human males were typically hunter-gatherers, as was the case for the vast majority of our existence, it was not unusual for a man to suffer scrotal injuries. One can only hunt deer for so long before an accident befalls one's genitals.

    As we live a more sedentary lifestyle these days, penile and scrotal trauma are much less common. So any such trauma typically comes from masturbation.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dunkelfalke (91624) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:50AM (#30763986)

    Exactly. There are far more lonely men than women and women are lonely often because of their own decision and not because they cannot find anyone. There are also very successful males who have got some kind of a harem. Hugh Hefner is a prime example.

    The old joke demonstrates this pretty well:

    Boy: I have a dick, and you dun have!
    Girl: My mother said, when I grow up, I can have as many as I want

  • Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <[sorceror171] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:50AM (#30763996) Homepage

    The genders are not equal.

    Yes... and no. The "differences" you mention are not hard, sharp divisions. They are bell curves with peaks in different places, but there is lots of overlap. Even in the realm of sheer upper-body strength, I guarantee that (unless you happen to be a champion powerlifter) there are are women who can outbench you.

    It's not that differences don't exist. (They do, and vive la difference.) It's just they they are of a different kind, and a different size, and a different range, than you seem to understand.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:56AM (#30764062)

    Equating mechanical strength to physical superiority is specious. Overall survival value is the name of the game, and the physical strength of the strongest - or even average - individual doesn't speak to a survival advantage in modern or ancient society. The higher percentage body fat in female humans is a significant survival advantage in cold weather conditions, while the lower body mass and associated lower energy overhead can be the difference between starving exhaustion and mental and physical readiness. It's a complex issue and it was rather naive of you to announce a "winner" in a complex, argument-launching question on the basis of a single attribute.

  • by SQLGuru (980662) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:58AM (#30764092) Journal

    "One can only hunt deer for so long before an accident befalls one's genitals."

    I think I saw that video on YouTube!

  • by mcvos (645701) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:59AM (#30764104)

    The notion of evolving males is not silly. That's why peacocks have big bright displays, while peahens are boring brown. (This is even within the wild population of peacocks.)

    This is called "sex selection," and Darwin wrote extensively about it.

    But that doesn't happen independently from the females. In fact, it happens exactly because of the hens. Sexual behaviour is a complex interaction, and the bright displays are only a manifestation of that. It happens because of tastes, roles and behaviours within the entire population, and it's likely that many genes involved in this are carried just as much by the female peacocks, but they only express themselves in the males.

  • Re:Not really. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:04AM (#30764170)
    Evolution does not require speciation, it requires adaptation to accommodate changing niches which may, but not necessarily will lead to speciation.
  • by Trails (629752) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:18AM (#30764428)

    It may also represent societal pressures on men.

    Men have a shorter life expectancy, also indicative of stronger pressure on the males of the species.

    For example, if men tend to do more dangerous jobs (soldering, firefighting, etc...) this means the selective process among males is different, possibly harsher.

    In other words, this is proof that men have it tougher than women, so my wife should quit her belly-achin' and bring me a sammich!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:27AM (#30764630)

    The notion of evolving males is not silly.

    The flatter bell curves for men compared to women for {insert metric here} would support this theory.

    The extreme ends of the spectrum for pretty much every human trait are dominated by males. Even for physical traits normalized for average gender differences, males have a wider distribution. It's also not surprising given the gamete numbers. A billion sperm are going to produce more mutations than a thousand eggs, even with the size difference between the X and Y chromosomes.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:33AM (#30764744) Homepage Journal
    Yes, that is true. Historically only 40% of all males were able to produce offspring while over 80% of all females were. Since 60% of all males were evolutionary losers but only 20% of females ofcourse that produces different survival strategies for the genders.
  • Re:The cynical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by log0n (18224) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:42AM (#30764920)

    Sorry you got modded down.. I wholeheartedly agree with this.

    Like you, I could care less now.. but you are correct - ever since the old school women's liberation movement (which was a good and necessary thing) the balance his shifted so that women aren't equals, they are male superiors. Most advertising portrays females as the wise and NECESSARY figureheads of families while men are bumbling with 0 (or equally idiotic) focus. I'm very fortunate in my marriage.. but the occasional times we bump heads, why is the supposition that I'm automatically the one who's wrong?

    The cynical and sexist side of me thinks that this is because women generally still feel inadequate in some capacity.

    But yea.. factor in TV advertising, divorced moms who typically end up with custody ranting about how evil fathers/men are and doctors prescribing away 'boys will be boys' (generally at the request of the mom), future generations will have some serious genetics to do battle with.

    No wonder males are evolving faster than women. Survival of the fittest.. and men are no longer fit in the battle of the sexes.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:42AM (#30764922) Homepage

    And I said that doesn't mean what you think it means. You said that meant "That physically, men were superior to women." Sockatume pointed out one problem with that too: "Equating mechanical strength to physical superiority is specious." Especially in a species with as many different strategic options as humans do, a difference in any one dimension isn't particularly relevant. My point was that, even for tasks that require a specific faculty like upper-body strength, you'll still find women who can do the job just fine. The "average differences", while interesting, are useless in practice. You still need to focus on the only relevant criteria: can they do the job?

    And your last paragraph shows your lack of understanding of what I am talking about. I never said women can't do a certain job. I said the strongest man is stronger then the strongest woman. I said the average man is stronger then the average woman. Where in those statements does it say that women can't hunt, fight, run, etc? It doesn't. That is the same reason why Sockatume is wrong when replying to my statement, also he needs to back up his/her information about efficiency.

    To go on to the efficiency: Sockatume said women are more efficient then men - that requires some proof. They may utilize less energy, on the average, but if they are less efficient at physical tasks, which includes (hunting, running, construction, etc) they will take logner and more energy (in the long run) to complete those tasks. It's similar to people who say "well i should buy that 4 cylinder car because 6 cylinders burn more gas then 4 cylinders, which makes 4 cylinders more efficient" - that is wrong. 6 cylinders burn more gas, yes, but that doesn't make them less efficient. The 4 cylinder car has to work harder then the 6 cylinder car to get the same performance - and actually can't get the same higher end performance because of those limitations. BTW every medical doctor in the world will tell you that someone with more muscle mass is more efficient then someone with less muscle mass, and that is irrespective of gender. Males have more muscle mass then women.

    In terms of body fat - men can store fat pretty darn well. The higher percentage of body fat women tend to have over men is from breasts - which can add a considerable percentage to a woman based on her size. Other then that men and women store fat fairly equally.

    Before you respond, remember, I am talking about strength/speed - not intelligence. I am also talking about maximum, minimum, and averages.

    On a side note of women can do everything men can do. If the strongest woman can only lift X lbs, and the strongest man can lift X + Y lbs (no pun intended) then women cannot do everything men can do. This is largly irrelevant because we are smart people and we can think of ways around the issue...for example, get someone to help you lift the object, or create a device like a pully system. This is even more irrelevant because that is not what I am talking about, but it is what you and sockatume are talking about

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:45AM (#30764964) Homepage Journal
    Evolution happens to groups, mutation happens to individuals.

    Evolution is nothing more than mutations over time.

    Further, you can have a few individuals of a group evolve at a different rate and in a different direction than the remainder of the group. Humans are good example of this.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:46AM (#30764992) Journal
    Actually, 'writing errors that don't die' is pretty much the definition of evolution. Evolution isn't a linear thing either. There's no strict ordering of 'more evolved' that you can apply between two creatures, just 'more mutated'. Species have, in the past, evolved very quickly to adapt to a changing niche and then all died out when that niche disappeared.
  • by tmosley (996283) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:48AM (#30765036)
    Females never at any time have access to the Y chromosome, so any evolution that occurs there by definition only effects males. There are numerous examples of male only evolution occurring throughout the animal kingdom.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:01PM (#30765302) Journal

    Evolution is nothing more than mutations over time.

    Absolutely untrue. Evolution is mutation plus culling. Without the culling, you do not have evolution. If you put together a situation in which all mutations are likely to survive, then there is no evolution, there is just divergence (this doesn't happen in nature and is very hard to make happen in a lab). Evolution requires some conditions which will make some mutations more able to survive and reproduce than others. In each generation, some mutations will be favourable, some will not. Most will be a mixture of both.

    The culling process (starvation from inability to catch prey, death from not being able to outrun predators, inability to attract a mate caused by not having bright enough feathers, and so on) ensures that the mutations that are beneficial are more likely to enter the next generation than the ones that are not. The result of this process over time is evolution. Mutation is just a part of it. You can even have evolution without mutation if you start with a sufficiently varied population. Over time, the population will evolve towards a less varied group with only the characteristics suited to that particular niche.

    Further, you can have a few individuals of a group evolve at a different rate and in a different direction than the remainder of the group. Humans are good example of this.

    Absolutely. White skin, for example, was a mutation with both advantages and disadvantages. It increased the risk of death from skin cancer, but also made it easier to absorb vitamin D. In regions with lots of sunlight, evolution selects against this mutation because it kills more than it saves (you aren't likely to be short of vitamin D in the middle of Africa, but you are likely to develop skin cancer). In colder climates, vitamin D shortage is a real problem, even in a modern society; there have been a number of well-publicised cases in the north of England recently where black children suffer from a deficiency caused by not receiving enough exposure to sunlight, while skin cancer from exposure to sunlight is much rarer.

    Note, however, that both the mutation and the culling are required. An individual that develops white skin has not evolved, it has mutated. A population that develops white skin because it has a greater survival utility in northern Europe has evolved. The same mutation in Africa will be as likely, but is much less likely to be passed on because it does not confer a survival advantage (the reverse, in fact) and so will not contribute to evolution.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:31PM (#30765822)

    TV panders to women because TV is all about selling advertising. Advertising is all about selling crap. Who does the day to day shopping? Unless you're a single guy it's probably a woman. For most goods, advertisers value the eyeballs of women far more than those of men. This is why nearly every TV program that isn't a guy's show (sports/fishing/woodworking/etc) must be palatable to women. If women won't like it it's not on TV.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xtravar (725372) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:36PM (#30765934) Homepage Journal

    we wonder why so many of our boys end up as dropouts and criminals. Perhaps society shouldn't be painting them as morons 24/7 and let them develop some self-esteem.

    The bad news is that they actually are morons. The good news is that they end up in jail. The bad news is that they find multiple equally stupid women to have their babies. The good news is that the girls become battered wives or prostitutes, so the men actually end up with the better deal.

    Wait, what? Why are we pretending like each gender is a 'side' in some battle? This is all terrible for everyone.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alomex (148003) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:36PM (#30765936) Homepage

    Why is shit like this tolerated?

    Because humor is usually either mocking yourself or those who are in power. Everything else is generally considered in poor taste---unless you select the one ethnicity that each country is allowed to hate. In the USA it used to be the "Pollacks", nowadays the French seem to be it.

    People in power always gets their fair share or barbs and Obama as the current president is no exception.

    However you are on to something: as society becomes more integrated and less racist, mock-the-whites humor becomes less funny and more just an expression of bigotry.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by misexistentialist (1537887) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:51PM (#30766200)
    Most surgery is probably done on married women to hide aging, which is unlikely to change the selection equation. (And stopping the evolution of women into creatures with breasts so large they are incapable of moving would probably be beneficial to the species anyway.)
  • Re:obviously (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:53PM (#30766232)
    There doesn't have to be a good reason - the human body is littered with such "design faults". The thing is - once a solution works well enough it becomes difficult to evolve an even better solution which is far apart from the existing one. For example, one day you might have mutated offspring who is able to produce sperm at room temperature. What's his evolutionary advantage? Nothing because his balls are already out receiving sufficient cooling. And while that requires a huge step already, it would take another huge one, in which his offsprings balls don't drop. Only then a very slight evolutionary advantage would appear. The advantage would be even smaller since we usually don't like sexual partners who are looking "wierd" or defective, and we have already adapted our environment to protect our balls by wearing clothes.

    Evolution doesn't give us the best possible solution, just one which was "good enough" at some point in time. As a result we have spines which hurt, wrists which break easily when we try to protect us from a fall, women who become infertile long before they would lose the strength to carry a child, etc.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superdana (1211758) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:53PM (#30766246)
    Most advertising portrays females as the wise and NECESSARY figureheads of families while men are bumbling with 0 (or equally idiotic) focus.

    Yeah, let me tell you how great it is to be constantly reminded that my place is in the home. It makes me feel so SUPERIOR. It's a miracle that I can manage to hold down a software development job too, in which my undeniable superiority rakes in 70% as much as the man in the other cube. Thank God for that old school women's lib thing that is obviously no longer necessary.
  • Re:The cynical... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yabos (719499) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:10PM (#30766548)
    Unless it's a non white person, then they can be as racist as they want. Just look at Chris Rock, his comedy is mostly white racist jokes.
  • Re:The cynical... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:15PM (#30766648)

    Anon to protect the witness...

    I see the women winning or needing to win much of the time; not because they must be right all the time but because if they hold a grudge for not getting their way they are much worse than men about it.

    It goes even into primate behavior where the females will hold ill will for a month or more while the males have it out sooner and get over it quickly. If you have to live with females, you know the bad feelings are going to punish you for a longer period of time. It is not about letting her be right all the time its about avoiding the prolonged negative backlash; some women can't handle being wrong (for whatever reason) and so they create a situation where other people have to back down just to avoid their attitude problem; unless a loophole can be found to avoid the negative emotions when "losing".

    Women who are spoiled as kids and later as adults (usually the good looking ones) understandably have issues about not getting their way and can be real bitches - it differs from the male counterpart because they are not so prolonged about it and also are more direct. Its no wonder why the men back down so much; its just easier - its also common for them to lie and humor because we often see or ourselves just try to defuse the situation but get into trouble again later because we didn't really agree -- we lied -- and the best way out then is to play stupid. Honesty is not the best policy no matter what anybody says (ok some women are reasonable; all seem to think that they are.)

    -- USA TV -- that's easy:
    P.C. culture dictates no big consumer group be can be offended. So the old school dingbat wife routine which was COMMONPLACE before TV was phased out as women fought for their rights. TV wasn't allowed to do that sort of thing to women in a way that caused complaints, boycots, lost viewership etc --- since a TON of comedy involves male/female relationships and a TON of comedy involves 1 being the stupid/slow side of the equation MEN were stuck into the role. MEN didn't complain or get upset enough to cause any backlash so it continued to this day where nearly every show picks on males. Race is also an issue; so you can expect to see the non-complaining type get the brunt of it as well--- you'll have a nearly all black show with a dumb white or black character but you won't see an all white show with a dumb black character.

    Me- I don't care about us white men. there are still too many pompous white bastard men who are more successful than they deserve. When things get more equitable then I'll complain about the portrayal of men on TV.

    I will say that it does bug me when the society promotes this belief system for women about their men being boys etc. The genders differ and are not the same (plus we raise them to be different;) there is plenty of childish stupid things women do but outside of some comedian's act -- we have to tread carefully when referring to it; while the women will openly comment about you to each other in an almost condescending manor. Its a "boy toy" when I get a tool; but I can't say something similar about any household item or childcare item or beauty product or gossip item etc.

    Right now women may get payed less, but they have the cultural advantage/freedom in many areas. They are still objectified and that will continue to some degree without cultural backing; I suspect that promotes insecurity

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:29PM (#30766904)

    Not necessarily.

    Many well-off people have one or no children.
    Many poor people have several children who also have several children.

    Being better at getting laid is not the same as being better at procreation.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:41PM (#30767098) Homepage Journal

    Compliment by self-deprecation is fine. Compliment by half-the-human-race-deprecation is not.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:41PM (#30767104) Homepage Journal

    It's called self-deprecating humor [wikipedia.org]. I'm a male, so I get to make fun of men. I'm also a white guy, so I can make fun of white guys. I've witnessed African-Americans making fun of the African-American stereotype, and guess what. It's funny. I've also witnessed women making fun of female stereotypes, and guess what. It's funny, too.

    You should try it sometime yourself. Stop taking yourself, your race, your gender, your religion, your [whatever] so seriously. Ironically, most people respect folks more who are able to laugh at themselves. It's people like you are are "that guy" that no one wants to be around because they're so self-righteous.

    I don't feel sorry for our children at all. I want my kids to have a healthy sense of humility and not be like you. And if you think that comments like these about one's own cultural groups are a contributing factor to society's ills, you really need to get a better perspective things.

    In other words, man up, Nancy.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eples (239989) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:47PM (#30767184)
    I agree completely - women no longer understand what "equality" means and substitute "domination".
  • by Creedo (548980) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:23PM (#30767890) Journal
    No, but that doesn't mean that they don't exert a selection pressure upon the Y chromosome via sexual selection, which is exactly the point.
  • Re:The cynical... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#30767906)

    Yeah, let me tell you how great it is to be constantly reminded that my place is in the home. It makes me feel so SUPERIOR. It's a miracle that I can manage to hold down a software development job too,

    No, it's not a miracle. In fact, most places I've worked JUMP at the chance to hire a qualified female engineer.

    in which my undeniable superiority rakes in 70% as much as the man in the other cube.

    THAT is your personal failing. My wife, who is a masters-degreed engineer will tell you that as well. If you're timid and can't drive a hard bargain in salary negotiations, then tough shit.

    In addition, the 70 cents on the dollar figure is often pulled from women and men working in disparate professions. Sorry, being a school secretary doesn't equal being an iron worker or an engineer.

    Thank God for that old school women's lib thing that is obviously no longer necessary.

    Oh, it may be necessary, but can't it be accomplished without denigrating and victimizing men? And don't lie to yourself, you know the modern brand of feminism we're writing about on this thread does just that. If it were about women standing on their own merits I could understand, but no, select women are going out of their way to attack men. As such, don't be surprised when we bite back.

    The time of misandry is coming to a close, and you can take that to the bank.

    And to all the professional women who take time off to have kids and expect to be able to leave early due to little Kristy's soccer game: do not bitch when I get promoted above you. I was on the job doing the deed while you were sucking in that maternity leave.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jahudabudy (714731) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @03:23PM (#30769046)
    It's a miracle that I can manage to hold down a software development job too, in which my undeniable superiority rakes in 70% as much as the man in the other cube. Thank God for that old school women's lib thing that is obviously no longer necessary.

    Old school women's lib IS no longer necessary. There are no laws or societal standards in place that prevent women from achieving as much as their male counterparts. Suffrage, equal pay, hiring discrimination, etc. are all legally equal. It is socially unacceptable for an organization (with a few exceptions in BOTH directions) to even hint at discriminatory practices. Frankly, there is nothing a feminist movement can accomplish that has not already been accomplished.

    Which is not to say there is not discrimination - there almost certainly is. It is simply all on an individual level, mostly amongst a generation that was born into a culture of inequality. You can't change these people's assumptions (which are sometimes unconscious). You can only wait for them to die. At which point there will still be men that think women are inferior. Just as there are women that think men are inferior. There will always be assholes out there. But sexism as a societal institution, yeah, that's pretty much gone.
  • Re:The cynical... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @03:36PM (#30769274)

    By and large, the idea than women earn less for equal work is incorrect these days. Yes, women earn less, but that's because they choose safer jobs on average (over 90% of workplace deaths are men), they are more likely to take extended periods of time away from their careers for child-rearing (in most places in the world, paternity leave is a pittance compared with maternity leave), they aren't as demanding when they ask for raises, they choose more pleasant indoor jobs at a higher rate than men do, they work fewer hours on average (men work more overtime on average and are more likely to be employed full-time), and other things of this nature. Once you control for factors like this - factors that boil down to women being less committed to their careers on average than men (who are viewed as the bread-winner and judged harshly if they can't provide for their families) you'll find that the sexes are about equal. Sure, you might put in equal work to your male peers, but other women who make different choices bring down the average salary for women. It's not discrimination, it's choice that causes women to earn less on average.

    Look at it this way: if you really could get the same amount of work from a woman at only 70% the cost, who would ever hire men?

  • by jrms (1347707) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @04:20PM (#30769972)

    "It's called self-deprecating humor. I'm a male, so I get to make fun of men."

    Assuming you're a man, saying "all men are stupid" deprecates you --- that's 1 person --- and 3 billion other people.

    It's 3 billion times more *other*-deprecating than self-deprecating.

    Not saying racist and sexist jokes aren't funny.

    But they're not self-deprecating.

    Needing the teller to belong to the group the joke targets, ain't about self-deprecation on the teller's part. It's about what sort of things an audience is prepared to listen to, and from whom.

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sean.peters (568334) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @05:26PM (#30771064) Homepage

    By and large, the idea than women earn less for equal work is incorrect these days.

    [citation needed]. Here's one from me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_pay_for_women [wikipedia.org]

    Yes, women earn less, but that's because they choose safer jobs on average (over 90% of workplace deaths are men), they are more likely to take extended periods of time away from their careers for child-rearing (in most places in the world, paternity leave is a pittance compared with maternity leave), they aren't as demanding when they ask for raises, they choose more pleasant indoor jobs at a higher rate than men do, they work fewer hours on average (men work more overtime on average and are more likely to be employed full-time), and other things of this nature.

    1. None of this has anything to do with "equal pay for equal work". You're talking about people at different kinds of jobs getting paid differently, which is something that not too many people have a problem with. 2. The thing about maternity leave for women is a red herring - as you yourself say, paternity leave is much more difficult to get... because taking care of babies is a woman's job, of course.

    Look at it this way: if you really could get the same amount of work from a woman at only 70% the cost, who would ever hire men?

    The real figure is like 85% (see my link above). Also see the latest unemployment figures - you know, the ones that show males suffering disproportionally more unemployment?

    Look, people need to understand that discrimination isn't just bad for women - it's bad for EVERYONE. Wouldn't you like to be able to get equal treatment for stuff like parental leave? Wouldn't it be nice is society didn't automatically decide that the father of a child didn't know what he was talking about when discussing a child's health, schoolwork, etc? Wouldn't it be nice if your wife, or daughter, or sister, could make an equitable salary?

  • Re:The cynical... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @06:32PM (#30771984)

    It's a miracle that I can manage to hold down a software development job too, in which my undeniable superiority rakes in 70% as much as the man in the other cube. Thank God for that old school women's lib thing that is obviously no longer necessary.

    Good thing women live five years longer than men, yet retire at the same age. Even if your number were accurate (and from all indications, it is *far* from that once uninterrupted time in the work force is accounted for), would women be willing to wait until age 72 to retire, in exchange for equal pay?

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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