Single women with careers, would you like to get married someday? Well, Phyllis Schlafly, conservative speaker and founder of Eagle Forum, thinks that if you want equal pay, you better give up on those dreams of finding a soulmate.
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Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate.
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.
There goes Sheryl Sandberg’s theory that the answer is for men to do half the housework and women to earn half the income. According to Schlafly, it’s for women to be paid less for reasons that are totally beyond their control and independent of their value as workers … and then to shut up about it.
The problem is that Schlafly’s life story is, in itself, a contradiction of her own rhetoric. She has spent her entire adult life, before and after marriage, working — first as a model, then as a ballistics gunner in a munitions plant during World War II, and finally as a conservative activist, speaker, and writer. She’s also a lawyer, and ran for Congress in 1952. All this while somehow managing to snag a husband and have six kids.
She was presumably well-paid for most of her jobs, so it seems slightly hypocritical to argue, at the end of her career, that today’s women shouldn’t get the same consideration. In any case, a recent Gallup poll found that marriage is less important to Americans than it was even a few years ago. So maybe it’s not a matter of women being able to “catch” husbands, or men being able to woo wives; it’s that fewer people care about getting married in the first place.
Finally, separate but equal has never worked, either for individuals or for society. If we want a strong economy, we have to bring out the best contributions from all of workers, and pay them equally for what they do, independently of which boxes they check on a census form.
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