You have to feel sorry for the White House.
If you read between the lines on its spanking new Women in America report, you’re left with the uncomfortable conclusion that legitimate grievances are in short supply. And what’s Women’s History Month without grievances? Bummer.
But you’ve got to hand it to them for trying.
Imagine how disheartening the following must have been to the White House and the old line feminist organizations (NOW comes creakingly to mind):
As the report shows, women have made enormous progress on some fronts. Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a master’s degree. Women are also working more and thenumber of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized in recent years. As women’s work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income.
But cheer up:
Yet, these gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their malecounterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.
As my colleague Carrie Lukas points out on National Review’s The Corner, the wage gap figures are bogus. When you factor in the choices women make, then the gap between what men and women earn is about 2 cents on the dollar. You see, women are likely to take time off from full-time employment to raise children. It may be unfair in the minds of many that women get penalized by having periods when they don’t work outside the home. But employers shouldn’t be expected to subsidize personal choices.
The poor White House is left to lamely try to portray government as woman’s best friend:
The Council’s mission is to provide a coordinated Federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families. The Council also serves as a resource for each agency and the White House so that there is a comprehensive approach to the Federal government’s policy on women and girls.
Sure, the report is a waste of time. Carrie notes:
What’s most frustrating about exercises like this is the rhetoric surrounding them, which usually implies that women are a special victim class that needs extra attention from Uncle Sam. Valerie Jarrett, chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, explains: “The Obama Administration has been focused on addressing the challenges faced by women and girls from day one because we know that the success of women and girls is vital to winning the future.”
Of course the success of women and girls is vital to winning the future – but so is the success of “men and boys,” and it seems unlikely that such a report on that topic will be forthcoming.
But you have to admit, it’s not easy to make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse.