Monday, January 09, 2006

It Ain't Easy Being a "Pale Male"

Yea, right.

On the contrary, men at Fortune 100 companies commonly complain that due to diversity goals, women actually have an unfair advantage. "Every company I've worked at goes out of its way to hire or promote women to senior level positions," says an upper-middle manager at a major food company. He adds with a sigh, "It's not easy being a 'pale male' in today's corporate world."

Where do these guys get these impressions? Not from the stats:

Yet recent research and statistics tell a different story, suggesting that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place. It's been 10 years since the U.S. Government's Glass Ceiling Commission released its findings that while women had 46 percent of America's jobs and more than half the master's degrees being awarded, only 5 percent of all senior manager positions were filled by women. What's more, female managers' earnings were on average a mere 68 percent of their male counterparts'.

And, some reasons for it, which I see everyday here in Grande Latte Enema Land:

- Different standards are used to judge the performance of women and minorities.

- Their corporate culture assigns lesser value to women and minorities.

- The "good old boy network" is the biggest discrimination barrier to career advancement.

- Because women and minorities are less willing to play the political game, many choose to leave the corporate world entirely.

Not really new stuff, but fascinating that men's impressions of women's levels of seniority in the workplace are a lot higher than the actual levels women achieve. It's that old 1/4 rule. Anytime a room is composed of 1/4 or more women, people will say that at least half the room is "full" of women.

Read the rest

4 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

VJ said...

And the reason we don't have any current stats for this very real phenomenon, is that the Bush administration refuses to gather the data that might demonstrate this, and thus undermine their ideology based on easily repeated lies. Ditto for the mass lay off stats. over at the Dept. of Labor, and oh yeah, the M3 money supply from Treasury. But no one here gives much of a rat's ass about the later 2, right? It still matters to more people than you care to know. Cheers, 'VJ' 

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

By the same token, not everything is fair to white men and no one ever DOES care about that. In a custody battle, who gets the child? When looking for financial aid to go to school do you know how much more difficult it is to find scholarships as a white man? Also, how fair is it to an idividual to legally discriminate against them for what they were born as? I won't claim that life is fair or white men are getting a bad deal, but I think the current system of affermative action is garbage.

First off, discrimination of any kind for any reason is wrong in my opinion. It's not one of those grey areas. It's wrong. Yet affermative action is a form of discrimination, aimed to aid certain groups at the expense of others. That's profiling. Not all women need help. Not all blacks are born poor. Not all white men get an introduction into the buddy system.

The current system seeks to provide equality of outcomes on a mass scale and this is the second problem with it. Equality of outcomes is a joke. These issues are far too complex to be solved in this manner and I'm unconvinced that this method isn't partly counter productive to real progress. After all, it makes the old buddy buddies feel singled out and targeted. If it pisses me off some times, how do you think they might react to that?

Rather than equality of outcomes, our goal should be equality of opportunity. A person shouldn't get a scholorship for being black or female. They should get it because they are from a family in need. Real change needs to start in our nations education and it needs to start at a young age. A child from a wealthy school district in the suburbs shouldn't get a better education than someone from a slum. However, they most likely will. What if both children are black? Who do you think will get a free trip to college? Is that fair? Is that really addressing the problem?

I've gone a little off the topic I think, but this seemed like the best way to illustrate my view that a law based on groupings and averages is not a good thing. We need solutions to inequality that deal with an individual as a person and not a statistic with characteristics and history of a given probability.

UGGG...that's a wordy mouthfull but I hope you can choke it down and get my point. I'm to sick and too tired to state it better without using math.

I'm all for equality and cleaning up the embarasing discrepincies in our nation, but I want to see real change that can work over time. I'm not impressed with systems that buy votes, sound good, and never deliver. 

Posted by Devil's Advocate Barney

Vincent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vincent said...

Isn't what Kameron saying though, based on the source article, is that the perception of the effects of positive discrimination does not match the reality?

It's fair enough saying the world should work as a meritocracy, but it's not. It's biased in favour of 'pale males', even with/despite positive discrimination. If that's the case and assuming that the current system favours one societal group - giving them better education, for example - then a meritocracy will simply perpetuate that inequality.

Yes, in certain cases men can be discriminated against - child custody being a prime example.

Yes, policy should address individual concerns, but in practice that's often not possible. It's too complicated and too costly to prove effective. There's an argument here in the UK over a 'pensions crisis' and whether state pensions should be means-tested or not. The argument in favour of means-testing is that it's much fairer - the size of your pension depends on how little money you have. The argument against is that costs of administering means-testing will outweight any benefits the poorer pensioners will get, thus making blanket pension rates more efficient (that is, while some richer people will get more than they deserve, more poorer people get what they deserve too).

I don't agree with the 1/4 women in a room looks like 1/2 rule. I'd say it depends who's looking. It's like the 'pale male' from the original article. Maybe in his company more females do get promoted, but more likely he's insecure about himself and his job prospects and when he sees women promoted ahead of him, he finds positive discrimination as apt excuse for his failure that suits his ego. He doesn't see 3 men getting promoting for every 1 of those women getting promoted because that's, well, normal. He has no recourse in that case.

We're designed to register the exceptional, rather than the commonplace. So if you're noting how often something happens, make sure you're not ignoring how much more often something else is happening.  

Posted by Vincent