Yesterday, the first lady hosted a reception at the White House celebrating International Women’s Day. Overall, her remarkswere uninspiring and filled with the familiar rhetoric we see out of mainstream feminists–women are unappreciated and underpaid, blah blah blah.
She did, however, start out on a happier note saying “Women are now the majority of graduates of colleges and universities. We make up nearly half of America’s workforce.”
But then, as if she’s met her good news quota, she quickly added to rousing applause “We got to get paid more for it…And that’s why here at home we continue our work to close the pay gap once and for all, to get that done. That’s why we continue our work here at home to bring women into fields like math and science. Keep studying your math. We’re still under-represented. So we still have work to do.”
I’m not one bit surprised to see these bromides included in the first lady’s speech. She, and many women on the Left, continue to promote the idea that women are paid less and are unwelcome in certain sectors of our economy. That’s why, the logic goes, they need special help, special programs, special treatment.
But, let’s just remember, none of this is true. As Carrie Lukas (here, here and here), Sabrina Schaeffer (here), and Charlotte Hayes (here) have recently pointed out, this rhetoric simply doesn’t hold up when you look at the true data. And as Allison Kasic pointed out last month (here and here), the newest research on the subject of women in the fields of science and mathematics shows that rather than institutional discrimination as the primary cause of the gender imbalance in these fields, other factors, such as a women’s desire to have and raise children and balancing work/life issues are the real reason fewer women enter these fields (see also Carrie Lukas’ policy papers on this subject here and here).
The first lady urges young women to keep studying. I suggest she do a little studying on her own…