Research: 95% Gender Sociology Papers Deny Biological Differences

 

Despite years of research documenting biological differences between men and women, only 5 per cent of the most cited gender sociology papers acknowledge differences exist, a senior sociologist has found.

This, political writer Ivar Arpi argues, is politically motivated in order to push endless social engineering projects. The result of biological differences being almost universally ignored by gender sociologists has a huge effect on the mainstream media, he says.

Sweden’s public broadcaster has even aired as “science” claims that women are shorter than men because parents subconsciously feed their daughters less.

The 2002 release of Stephen Pinker’s The Blank Slate, which reviewed decades of scientific literature, brought the realities of biological differences between the sexes to a huge audience. Despite this, research published last month by Econ Journal Watch (EJW) shows just one out of 20 of the most heavily cited gender studies papers in recent years acknowledges these differences.

Charlotta Stern, deputy chair of Stockholm University’s sociology department, says her findings show gender sociologists exist in “insular communities of highly dubious sacred beliefs and causes”.

These sacred beliefs of gender studies scholars, Stern asserts, revolve around there being only minor biological differences between the sexes, and that any differences in men and women’s behaviour and choices are the result of oppressive social structures.

This is despite researchers from a range of fields including the neurosciences, genetics, anthropology, and developmental psychology having, she writes, “amassed findings of differences in competitiveness, aggression, sexual interest, risk behavior, and many other traits, and differences in brain physiology and neuroimaging, by many different methods and approaches”.

Writing in Svenska Dagbladet about Stern’s research, Arpi points to a documentary aired on public service television as having resulted from sociologists’ blinkered approach to biology.

“Therefore women are shorter than men” was shown on SVT’s flagship science programme and claimed researchers had discovered women were shorter than men, on average, because sexist parents unknowingly give their daughters less food than their sons.

The article accompanying the broadcast claims “new theories suggest that power imbalances and discrimination are behind height differences”.  Anthropologist Paola Tabet is quoted as saying: “It is incredible that we have not discovered this before.”

It argues: “Biologically, the evidence suggests that it should be the opposite, ie that women should be larger than males.” The “evidence” the piece presents is that larger women would mean fewer childbirth risks, and that female blue whales are the largest creatures on Earth.

Arpi contacted Stern to ask why she thinks most people believe differences between the sexes come about almost entirely as a result of culture and social interactions.

The professor replied: “In general, I think that the idea of biological differences has become overly controversial. People have a tendency to be very ‘dichotomous’ in their thinking; when I say there are biological differences, people think that means I am excluding social influences.

“But my point is that we must [study the effects of] both biology and social influences. Sociology has everything to gain from the inclusion of biology in knowledge making.”

Arpi suggests that the reason for ignoring biology is that it might affect policy-making attempts at social engineering.

He writes: “If genes and biology affect people, it also puts some limits to what the policy can hope to achieve. If there is a biological basis for several observable differences between the sexes then one cannot reduce everything to a question of discrimination or power.

“And then that compromises the radical feminist project. The political aim is therefore allowed to obscure scientific achievements in other fields of research.”

Arpi refers to his correspondence with the professor, who told him: “We are stuck in a mindset where our vision of an egalitarian society is one where women and men do all the same things, work in the same occupations, in identical ways, and take equal responsibility for housework and child rearing.”

Given this vision, he says “it’s perhaps not surprising that ideas about biological differences are perceived as a threat”. If the science was taken into account, Arpi concludes that society would be “better able to distinguish between differences and inequality”.

 

By: Virginia Hale
Date: October 26, 2016
Source: Breitbart

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

The Case for Legalizing Sex Work

 

Sex work is, as the saying goes, the world’s oldest profession – except that the saying uses “prostitution” instead of “sex work.” The change to a less pejorative term is warranted by a shift in attitudes toward sex workers that contributed to Amnesty International’s decision in May to urge governments to repeal laws criminalizing the exchange of sex for money by consenting adults.

Amnesty International’s appeal was met by a storm of opposition – some of it from people who were evidently failing to distinguish between the sex industry as a whole and the human trafficking that, in many countries, is a tragic part of it. No one wants to legalize coercion, violence, or fraud in the sex industry, or the use of sex workers who are not adults. But some organizations campaigning against trafficking understand that when sex work is illegal, it is much riskier for sex workers to complain to the authorities when they are enslaved, beaten, or cheated. For that reason, the International Secretariat of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women applauded Amnesty International for supporting decriminalization.

There was also opposition from some feminist organizations, which accused Amnesty of protecting “the rights of pimps and johns.” Instead, they argued, we should “end the demand for paid sex” – but without explaining how this is to be done.

In species that reproduce sexually, sex is, for obvious reasons, one of the strongest and most pervasive desires. Humans are no exception in this respect. In every modern society, humans exchange money or other valued items for things that they desire and could not otherwise obtain. For various reasons, a significant number of people cannot get sex, or sufficient sex, or the kind of sex they want, freely. Unless at least one of these conditions changes, demand for paid sex will continue. I find it hard to see how any of them will change sufficiently to eliminate that demand.

If demand for paid sex is likely to continue, what about the supply? Another response to proposals to decriminalize sex work is that we should instead change the conditions that lead people to sell their bodies. This assumes that only those who lack any other means of supporting themselves would engage in sex for money.

That assumption is a myth. Leaving aside sex workers who want money because they have expensive drug habits, some could get a job in a factory or a fast-food restaurant. Faced with the prospect of monotonous, repetitive work for eight hours a day on an assembly line or flipping hamburgers, they prefer the higher pay and shorter hours that the sex industry offers. Many may not make that choice, but should we make criminals of those who do?

It’s not a crazy choice. Contrary to stereotypes of paid sex, work in a legal brothel is not especially dangerous or hazardous to one’s health. Some sex workers view their profession as involving greater skill and even a more human touch than alternative jobs open to them. They take pride in their ability to give not only physical pleasure, but also emotional support, to needy people who cannot get sex any other way.

If sex work is not going to disappear anytime soon, anyone who cares about the health and safety of sex workers – not to mention their rights – should support moves to make it a fully legal industry. That is what most sex workers want as well. In the same month that decriminalization became Amnesty’s official policy, the conservative government of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, decided not to regulate that state’s previously legalized sex industry. Jules Kim, the CEO of Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association, greeted the news with relief, saying that decriminalization had delivered “outstanding outcomes for sex workers’ health and safety.”

The Sex Workers Outreach Project agreed that decriminalization led to better health for sex workers, and enabled them to be covered by the standard features of the labor market, including insurance, occupational health and safety programs, and rules of fair trading. A majority of Australians now live in states that have legalized or decriminalized sex work.

This is consistent with the growing recognition in recent years that the state should be extremely reluctant to criminalize activities freely entered into by consenting adults. Laws against sodomy have been abolished in most secular countries. Physician-assisted dying is legal in an increasing number of jurisdictions. In the United States, there is widespread support for the legalization of marijuana.

The repeal of restrictive legislation has practical benefits, in addition to extending individual liberty. In Colorado, the desire to tax the marijuana industry was a major motivation for legalization. The original impetus for the legalization of the sex industry in New South Wales was an inquiry into police corruption that showed that the sex industry was a major source of police bribes. Legalization ended that in a single stroke.

Countries that criminalize the sex industry should consider the harms these laws cause, as Amnesty International has done. It is time to put aside moralistic prejudices, whether based on religion or an idealistic form of feminism, and do what is in the best interests of sex workers and the public as a whole.

 

By: Peter Singer
Date: November 14, 2016
Source: Project Syndicate
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/case-for-legalizing-sex-work-by-peter-singer-2016-11

Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Ethics of What We Eat (with Jim Mason), Rethinking Life and Death, The Point of View of the Universe, co-authored with Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek, The Most Good You Can Do, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, and most recently, One World Now and Ethics in the Real World. In 2013, he was named the world’s third “most influential contemporary thinker” by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

Rethinking care work key to closing gender pay gap

 

Imagine a society where women are not recognised as people. It seems remote from us in Australia, but women’s recognition before the law is relatively recent — particularly the recognition of married women.

Before the late 19th century married women could not hold property. They had no legal standing to sue, and were subject to their husband’s rule over their financial standing and their very bodies. Indigenous women’s full civic participation has been even more recent: where non-Indigenous women made strides in civil rights, Indigenous women remained for a long time subject to state oversight.

For non-Indigenous women, the Married Women’s Property Acts in the 1880s changed everything by recognising married women as people before the law. The Acts were seen as liberating for women, and as a measure of women achieving economic equality with men.

Sadly however, in 2016, women’s economic standing continues to lag behind that of men. This is the case not only for those who can afford to acquire property, but for women in all parts of society. Despite women having the right to education, participate in paid work, and hold property in their own right, several factors stand in the way of women’s economic independence, and consequently, their liberation.

There is a persistent gender pay gap — women across the board earn less than men. Industries in which women work pay less than those in which men work, and in other industries men tend to take higher paid positions where women take lower paid positions.

The gender pay gap flows through to superannuation — if you earn less, you save less super. Time taken out of work for having a child — with paid leave diminishing rather than growing — interrupts women’s progression and inhibits their ability to improve their job prospects, keeping wages down.

Compounding the effect of women’s generally lower pay is their disproportionate unpaid care work. Child rearing and caring for the elderly or infirm leave women less available for paid work. Women therefore tend to take part time or casual jobs, which allow some flexibility to fit in their caring responsibilities.

Otherwise, women rely on childcare or respite care to free them up to work. Of note, childcare remains a ‘women’s issue’, emphasising the nature of caring work as women’s work but also the reality that it predominantly affects women. The workplace has come some way to accommodating the realities of home life through carer’s leave, but generally paid work is based on a model of full time presence.

Where women have fewer economic resources, especially if they have dependent children, they must rely on a partner or the state.

Social change

Civil society requires care work. All of us, at various stages of our lives, will be dependent on others for our daily needs. Most of us will likewise care for others at some point. The challenge is how to allocate caring responsibilities throughout society, while allowing also for the paid work that secures economic independence. At the moment the tacit expectation that women will do unpaid care work — and that men (theoretically) are unburdened by care work — contributes to economic inequality.

There have been attempts to equalise women’s economic outlook. Anti-discrimination laws or sometimes affirmative action laws have attempted to deliver opportunities for women in the workplace. But these laws have done little it seems to address the care work/paid work imbalance. What we need is a fundamental shift in how we allocate care work that shares the burden more effectively.

What if, for example, both men and women worked a maximum number of hours per week in paid employment, and a minimum amount per week in unpaid care work. What if we established social norms, supported by government policies, that changed the way we allocate paid work and caring work. This is the proposal of Canadian legal philosopher, Jennifer Nedelsky.

As the nature of work is itself changing, a transformation that equalised responsibility for caring would even out hierarchies in our outdated model of working life. As Nedelsky argues, care would become explicitly valued, policy-makers would experience caring to understand the issues at stake (and therefore develop better and more responsive policy), and our relationships would be enhanced.

The role of the state in promoting this change is important, requiring various policy measures we currently lack. For example, providing successive parental leave for both parents, including tax breaks for employers, would encourage men and women to take leave. Extended leave would ensure care for babies and small children, and meet the threshold for care work. In Sweden for example, nearly 90 per cent of fathers take paternity leave. It has become a social norm that men are actively engaged in caring for their babies.

While there may be few risks for the affluent of cutting their paid work, those in low paying jobs would suffer, presumably, from a drop in their paid hours each week. For this reason, the state needs to establish a guaranteed minimum income. This is a threshold amount of money, paid regardless of one’s employment status or circumstances. The amount paid would ensure a baseline living standard that supports caring work, and which can be supplemented through paid work.

There are arguments that measuring or putting a value on caring might somehow devalue it as an expression of altruism or love. I reject these arguments. Even as men are increasingly contributing to housework, they still carry the benefit of higher pay and the economic advantages that brings. Until we significantly redistribute care work, and provide recompense for that work, we will not see the economic liberation of women. Nedelsky’s proposal, as radical as it seems, is one way to do that.

 

By: Kate Galloway
Date: November 24, 2016

Kate Galloway is a legal academic with an interest in social justice. This is the latest article in our ongoing series on work.

Posted in Gender and Human Rights, Latest Post | Leave a comment

The Last Stand Against Populism

 

JERUSALEM – There was a time, immediately after German reunification in 1990, when many French feared Germany. Today, the roles are reversed. But Germans are not afraid so much of France as for it. In the wake of June’s Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump’s triumph earlier this month in the United States’ presidential election, France, too, could fall victim to destructive populist forces, if voters choose the far-right National Front’s Marine Le Pen as their next president.

Germans may be pleased to see Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to by American media as “the liberal West’s last defender” – an island of stability in an ocean of chaos. But it is one thing to be described as the best pupil in class – Germany is used to that; it is quite another to feel like the only pupil showing up at all.

With the US out, there are indeed few decent pupils left. Though Trump has backed away from some of his more radical campaign promises, he is unlikely to drop his “America first” approach; as a result, the US may be about to break decisively with the universalism and global engagement that has characterized the last 70 years.

The situation is no better in Europe. Poland is following in Hungary’s illiberal footsteps. Austria, another German neighbor, may well be about to elect the far-right nationalist Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer as president. And the British are on their way out of the European Union altogether.

Yet none of this will be as destabilizing for Germany as a Le Pen presidency in France. A Le Pen victory would amount to abandonment not just of Germany, but also of the values, principles, and norms that have enabled Germany to reconcile with itself and its neighbors, beginning with France. It would sever the Franco-German axis around which the EU rotates.

What is needed now is precisely the opposite: a reset of Franco-German relations. The reality is that Germany and France have not played in the same league for a while. It is not that Germany has become too strong, as it may have seemed in the post-reunification period, but rather that France has become too weak, leaving Germany to lead the way in addressing Europe’s myriad crises in recent years.

Now, Germany is widely viewed as Europe’s hegemon. It was in Merkel’s hands that US President Barack Obama placed the torch of democracy following Trump’s victory, during his final official tour of Europe.

But Merkel cannot carry that torch alone. France must stand with Germany, shoulder to shoulder, as it once did. For that to happen, France must be as tall, strong, confident, and present as Germany. It must renew itself, guided by its own long-held values – values that Le Pen and her National Front do not share.

France does not need to match Germany’s economic might. What it can offer nowadays is at least as important. With Europe facing a combination of external threats, such as turmoil in the Middle East and Russian adventurism, and internal challenges, such as homegrown terrorism, security and defense cannot take a backseat to economic policy. And, in these areas, France has real comparative advantages.

Given the risks confronting Europe, not to mention Trump’s isolationist tendencies, the Franco-German relationship will assume greater regional and global importance. With Le Pen in charge, that relationship will almost certainly suffer, driving events in a dangerous direction.

To be sure, France’s two-round voting system, which ensures that the president obtains the support of a majority of voters, makes it extremely unlikely that a radical candidate like Le Pen can take power. (By contrast, in the US, Trump received more than two million fewer votes than his opponent, and George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore in 2000 by more than a half-million.)

But, given the electoral upsets that have taken place lately, Germans will probably not be reassured until after the votes are counted. After all, if Le Pen does manage to succeed in France’s run-off system, she will gain a strong and genuine mandate to implement policies that controvert everything post-war Germany – and, indeed, the EU – is supposed to stand for.

Of course, Germany has its own political challenges to overcome, with federal elections set for next October. Recent state elections indicated a popular mood that is suspicious of openness, particularly to refugees, with the National Front’s German counterpart, the Alternative for Germany, making large strides in some regions.

If Germany is to remain the pillar of stability that it has been in recent years, it must avoid going any farther down that path, and instead deliver a fourth premiership to Merkel. Fortunately, that scenario remains likely, though far from guaranteed.

In any case, France’s political trajectory will be decided well before Germany’s. To ensure a safe and prosperous future, French voters must support a person of authority, wisdom, and experience, who is willing and able to undertake urgently needed reforms without exacerbating social divisions – someone wholly unlike Marine Le Pen. In doing so, they would prove that the current wave of right-wing populism can be resisted. And they would give the European project a real shot at continued success.

By: Dominique Moisi
Date: November 28, 2016
Source: Project Syndicate
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/franco-german-relationship-le-pen-election-by-dominique-moisi-2016-11

Dominique Moisi is Senior Counselor at the Institut Montaigne in Paris. He is the author of La Géopolitique des Séries ou le triomphe de la peur.

Posted in Democratization & Social Movements, Latest Post, Social Justice | Leave a comment

South Korea’s president offers to resign if demanded by national assembly demands

 

South Korean president Park Geun-hye, embroiled in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal, said Tuesday that she would allow the National Assembly to determine her fate, apparently signaling that she would resign if lawmakers vote to impeach her.

Making her third televised address to the nation in two months, Park again apologized for the scandal, which has angered the nation and created a political vacuum. But in a surprise announcement, she said that she would give in to demands that she stand down if the assembly demanded it.

“I will delegate the decision on shortening of my term to the national assembly,” a chastened Park said Tuesday. “I will abide by their legislation and will step down afterwards. … I hope that the nation will move out of this turmoil and go back to its original trajectory.”

This means Park could stand down as soon as Friday, when opposition parties, with the support of dozens of lawmakers from Park’s Saenuri party, hope to put a motion to impeach the president.

“We will quickly move to complete the impeachment this week,” Woo Sang-ho, the floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said earlier Tuesday, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

Park, South Korea’s first woman president and the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee — who ruled with an iron fist in the 1960s and 1970s — is coming under unprecedented pressure to step down.

She is suspected of allowing her lifelong friend, Choi Soon-sil, to use their relationship to raise tens of millions of dollars from big businesses and of letting her wield extensive influence over the running of the country. Choi has now been indicted on charges of coercion, fraud and abuse of power, and prosecutors say Park was an accomplice to the crimes.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans protested in central Seoul on Saturday for the fifth weekend in a row, calling on her to resign. The latest Gallup Korea poll put Park’s approval rating at 4 percent — the lowest it had ever recorded for any president since democratization in 1987.

In her first public address, on September 25, Park admitted that Choi had given her advice on speeches and how to present herself in public. The speech was widely considered to be insufficient so the notoriously press-shy Park appeared for a second time, on November 2. Then, she made a more emotional appeal, describing herself as lonely and saying she had committed an error of judgement by relying too much on her only friend.

But both addresses failed to quell the public uproar over the scandal.

Still, Park had remained defiant, refusing to be questioned by prosecutors, who had been asking to talk to her in person by Tuesday.

Her attorney, Yoo Yeong-ha, said Monday that the president would not be able to cooperate with the prosecutors because of her busy schedule. “The president has a difficult schedule because she has to prepare measures to cope with this urgent situation,” Yoo said in a text message to reporters.

Park cannot be prosecuted while in office but she can be investigated, and charges could be laid against her once she steps down. Opposition lawmakers have been suggesting she could face charges including abuse of power, bribery and leaking confidential information.

Separately, Park accepted the resignation of her justice minister, Kim Hyun-woong, who has said that he could not continue in his job because of the tensions between the presidential office and the prosecutors. But Park did not allow Choi Jai-kyeong, an aide in the presidential office who advises her on legal issues, to step down from his post.

South Koreans are no strangers to political corruption scandals — every president since democratization in 1987 has become embroiled in some kind of money-related case. But this scandal has particularly incensed people because of the suggestion that a person who had no experience — Choi had never held any kind of public office and had no security clearance — was allowed to act as “shadow president,” having a say on everything from North Korea policy to the president’s wardrobe.

Plus Choi, who has been indicted on charges including extortion and fraud, is accused of using her connection to the president to enrich herself and win favorable treatment for her family. Choi is alleged to have raised almost $70 million from big businesses including Samsung, the country’s flagship conglomerate, ostensibly for two foundations but actually for herself. Furthermore, Choi’s daughter seems to have won admission to a prestigious university, despite not meeting the requirements for entry.

The scandal continues to widen, with prosecutors last week raiding the headquarters of Samsung and other conglomerates including SK and Lotte, as well as the offices of the national pension fund and the university that Choi’s daughter attended.

Along the way, there have been numerous bizarre twists in this tale, notably the revelation last week that the presidential office had bought 364 erectile dysfunction pills. A spokesman explained that they were for the president to take in case she experienced altitude sickness while traveling abroad.

 

By: Anna Fifield
Date: November 29, 2016
Source: The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-koreas-president-offers-to-resign-if-national-assembly-demands-it/2016/11/29/82af08ec-b199-11e6-bc2d-19b3d759cfe7_story.html

 

Posted in Democratization & Social Movements, Latest Post | Leave a comment
  • Youtube Channel