Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Marine Captain explains her opposition to allowing women to serve in the infantry

Dennis Prager mentioned this must-read article on his radio show on Monday. It is written by a female United States Marine named Katie Petronio, who has served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Marines are above average troops, with much stricter requirements to get in than the Army, Navy and Air Force.

In her article, Captain Petronio explains what serving in the infantry during combat operations did to her body.

Excerpt:

As a young lieutenant, I fit the mold of a female who would have had a shot at completing IOC, and I am sure there was a time in my life where I would have volunteered to be an infantryman. I was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, a small elite college in Maine, with a major in government and law. At 5 feet 3 inches I was squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds when I graduated in 2007. I completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) ranked 4 of 52 candidates, graduated 48 of 261 from TBS, and finished second at MOS school. I also repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test). Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry. I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion, that we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females.

I was a motivated, resilient second lieutenant when I deployed to Iraq for 10 months, traveling across the Marine area of operations (AO) and participating in numerous combat operations. Yet, due to the excessive amount of time I spent in full combat load, I was diagnosed with a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My spine had compressed on nerves in my lower back causing neuropathy which compounded the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. While this injury has certainly not been enjoyable, Iraq was a pleasant experience compared to the experiences I endured during my deployment to Afghanistan. At the beginning of my tour in Helmand Province, I was physically capable of conducting combat operations for weeks at a time, remaining in my gear for days if necessary and averaging 16-hour days of engineering operations in the heart of Sangin, one of the most kinetic and challenging AOs in the country. There were numerous occasions where I was sent to a grid coordinate and told to build a PB from the ground up, serving not only as the mission commander but also the base commander until the occupants (infantry units) arrived 5 days later. In most of these situations, I had a sergeant as my assistant commander, and the remainder of my platoon consisted of young, motivated NCOs. I was the senior Marine making the final decisions on construction concerns, along with 24-hour base defense and leading 30 Marines at any given time. The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen.

By the fifth month into the deployment, I had muscle atrophy in my thighs that was causing me to constantly trip and my legs to buckle with the slightest grade change. My agility during firefights and mobility on and off vehicles and perimeter walls was seriously hindering my response time and overall capability. It was evident that stress and muscular deterioration was affecting everyone regardless of gender; however, the rate of my deterioration was noticeably faster than that of male Marines and further compounded by gender-specific medical conditions. At the end of the 7-month deployment, and the construction of 18 PBs later, I had lost 17 pounds and was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (which personally resulted in infertility, but is not a genetic trend in my family), which was brought on by the chemical and physical changes endured during deployment. Regardless of my deteriorating physical stature, I was extremely successful during both of my combat tours, serving beside my infantry brethren and gaining the respect of every unit I supported. Regardless, I can say with 100 percent assurance that despite my accomplishments, there is no way I could endure the physical demands of the infantrymen whom I worked beside as their combat load and constant deployment cycle would leave me facing medical separation long before the option of retirement. I understand that everyone is affected differently; however, I am confident that should the Marine Corps attempt to fully integrate women into the infantry, we as an institution are going to experience a colossal increase in crippling and career-ending medical conditions for females.

This article is a must-read, and it contains an audio interview and a video clip from CNN. Thank goodness that she spoke out about this, because right now it seems like the Democrats are passing a lot of legislation with a complete disregard to the long-term consequences and the incentives they are introducing. This issue is related to so many of the other issues being pushed by the left. They want to eradicate the differences between men and women – that’s what they mean by feminism. Abortion is there way of making women equal to men, with respect to recreational sex. And pushing women into combat roles is their way of making women equal to men, with respect to war. No one is stopping to ask what women really want, or what men and children need from women.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Democrats push for school quotas and speech codes in defense bill amendment

Washington D.C. lawyer Hans Bader explains at College Insurrection blog.

Excerpt:

Suing schools and colleges has nothing to do with supporting our troops.

But that didn’t stop Senators from seeking to add an amendment, SA 3215, to the 2013 Defense Authorization bill on Thursday, containing provisions that would overturn two Supreme Court rulings in order to promote such lawsuits. The amendment, proposed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would dramatically expand the reach of two federal statutes, Title VI and Title IX, to allow colleges, schools, and recipients of federal funds to be sued for “disparate impact.”

Disparate impact is what people call school policies that have no motive to discriminate, but end up affecting some groups more than others. For example, standardized tests for mathematics have nothing to do with race, but some racial groups perform better than others. The Democrats think that this is grounds for a lawsuit, apparently.

More:

The amendment, backed by trial lawyers, would also allow colleges, schools, and other institutions to be sued for unlimited punitive damages.

[...]The specter of liability for disparate impact could make schools get rid of standardized tests designed to ensure that students are really learning, and detect failing schools, since all but the easiest standardized tests arguably have a racially “disparate impact.”

It could also result in racial quotas in school discipline. The Obama Administration has alreadypressured some school districts to adopt de facto racial quotas in school discipline (school districts are reluctant to defy the Administration’s legally-dubious demands lest it cut off their federal funds), requiring even liberal school districts that already bend over backwards not to suspend disruptive black students to cut their suspension rates, and spend millions of dollars to comply with bureaucratic dictates imposed by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work.

[...]Expanding Title VI liability and punitive damages could also lead to more campus speech codes, as colleges, terrified of racial harassment liability under Title VI, clamp down on any speech that might conceivably contribute to what is perceived as a racially hostile learning environment.

Hans explains why these laws cause schools and universities to create “speech codes”:

But schools persist in imposing overbroad harassment policies, both because they would rather be sued for First Amendment violations than for racial or sexual harassment… and because private colleges are not directly subject to the First Amendment at all, but can be sued for racial and sexual harassment.

[...][T]o avoid liability, private colleges in particular may clamp down on campus speech about racial and sexual issues like affirmative action and feminism, lest such speech provide potential “building blocks” of a hostile environment claim under the “totality of circumstances” test.

Trial lawyers are one of the groups that donate a lot of money to Democrats, so naturally they will be happy with any law that makes more business for them.

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Equal pay and women: does Obama give his female employees pay equity?

Obama talks a lot about equal pay for women and pay equity, but what is his record?

The Daily Caller explains:

Government records show that despite the Democratic National Convention’s early focus on salary equality for women, President Barack Obama has consistently paid his own female staffers less than men who perform similar or identical duties.

The convention is Obama’s show, but Tuesday night in Charlotte belonged to Lilly Ledbetter. The failed lawsuit plaintiff whose name was ultimately attached to a wage parity law Obama signed in 2009 — the first bill to win his signature — addressed the convention, and at least five other speakers raised her signature issue. One was the president himself.

A video of Obama played in the convention hall at around 9:35 p.m. Tuesday, in which he observed that women in the U.S. workforce are “still earning just 77 cents for every dollar a man does.”

“Overall,” he said, “a woman with a college degree doing the same work as a man will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career.”

Such a gender pay gap, he claimed, “weakens families; it weakens communities; it’s tough on our kids; it weakens our entire economy.”

But data from the Obama White House’s 2011 annual report show that female staffers there earn a median salary 18 percent lower than that of men.

And nearly four years ago, at the height of the 2008 election season, Scripps Howard syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock wrote that female staffers in Obama’s U.S. Senate office, too, were shortchanged.

“Obama’s average male employee earned $54,397,” Murdock determined from online Senate salary records. But the future president’s “30 female employees … [earned] $45,152, on average.”

But there is a broader question that needs to be answered. Are the differences in the salaries between men and women due to discrimination, or are they due to the different choices that men and women make?

Here’s a popular article by Carrie Lukas, writing in the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Mary)

Excerpt:

The unemployment rate is consistently higher among men than among women. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 9.3% of men over the age of 16 are currently out of work. The figure for women is 8.3%. Unemployment fell for both sexes over the past year, but labor force participation (the percentage of working age people employed) also dropped. The participation rate fell more among men (to 70.4% today from 71.4% in March 2010) than women (to 58.3% from 58.8%). That means much of the improvement in unemployment numbers comes from discouraged workers—particularly male ones—giving up their job searches entirely.

Men have been hit harder by this recession because they tend to work in fields like construction, manufacturing and trucking, which are disproportionately affected by bad economic conditions. Women cluster in more insulated occupations, such as teaching, health care and service industries.

[...]The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.

Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.

Men, by contrast, often take on jobs that involve physical labor, outdoor work, overnight shifts and dangerous conditions (which is also why men suffer the overwhelming majority of injuries and deaths at the workplace). They put up with these unpleasant factors so that they can earn more.

Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.

That makes sense. For example, I think that most women find careers like teaching and nursing more fulfilling than careers in automobile repair or computer programming. And some fields just pay more than others because of supply and demand. But if you look at what people of both sexes earn for the same degrees, the same years of experience, in the same jobs, and correct for time off for child care, and so on, then there is no pay gap. It’s a made-up crisis designed to trick women into thinking that they are victims, and that they need government to save them from the bad, bad men. And most single women do fall for this rhetoric, as a recent poll showed. I think it’s especially true for fatherless women and women who make poor choices in relationships, which is why fiscal conservatives and libertarians need to promote marriage, family and fatherhood more. These things are all related.

There is a gender pay gap – but not the one you might expect

However, there actually is a gender pay gap in the largest cities in the country – but it’s not a pay gap that favors men.

Well, first of all, it’s important to note for those who didn’t know that salary differences are purely the result of individual lifestyle choices, not the result of sexist discrimination. Who says? The US Labor Department, that’s who.

Here are the details.

Excerpt:

Economists who have studied the pay gap have observed that numerous factors other than discrimination contribute to the wage gap, such as hours worked, experience, and education. For example, Professor June O’Neil has written extensively about how time out of the workforce, or years spent working part-time, can reduce future pay. Likewise, economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth, in her book Women’s Figures, has written about the decisions that women are more likely to make to choose flexibility, a friendly workplace environment, and other nonmonetary factors as compared to men.

Recognizing the importance of unbiased research on the pay gap, the Labor Department recently contracted with CONSAD Research Corporation for a review of more than 50 existing studies as well as a new economic and statistical analysis of the pay gap. CONSAD’s Report, which was finalized on January 12, 2009, found that the vast majority of the pay gap is due to several identifiable factors and that the remainder may be due to other specific factors they were not able to measure.

CONSAD found that controlling for career interruption and other factors reduced the pay gap from about 20 percent to about 5 percent. Data limitations prevented it from considering many other factors. For example, the data did not permit an examination of total compensation, which would examine health insurance and other benefits, and instead focused solely on wages paid. The data were also limited with respect to work experience, job tenure, and other factors.

The Labor Department’s conclusion was that the gender pay gap was the result of a multitude of factors and that the “raw wage gap should not be used as the basis for [legislative] correction. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

It turns out that the pay gap, which was always entirely due to lifestyle choices, is now working against men. Here is Carrie Lukas  again, writing in National Review this time, explaining the latest research on the pay gap.

She cites the radically left-wing Time magazine:

…according to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).

It would have been nice if Romney could have explained all of this during the debate, but there are some things that are dangerous to explain when you are running for President.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Should the government restrict men’s participation in STEM fields?

Hans Bader from the Competitive Enterprise Institute is concerned about politics being injected into science.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Quotas limiting the number of male students in science may be imposed by the Education Department in 2013. The White House has promised that “new guidelines will also be issued to grant-receiving universities and colleges” spelling out “Title IX rules in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.” These guidelines will likely echo existing Title IX guidelines that restrict men’s percentage of intercollegiate athletes to their percentage in overall student bodies, thus reducing the overall number of intercollegiate athletes. (Under the three-part Title IX test created by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work, colleges are allowed to temporarily comply by increasing the number of female athletes rather than cutting the number of male athletes, but the only viable permanent way to comply with its rule is to restrict men’s participation relative to women’s participation, reducing overall participation.) Thus, as Charlotte Allen notes, the Obama administration’s guidelines are likely to lead to “science quotas” based on gender.

[...]Obama hinted that Title IX quotas would soon come to engineering and techology, saying that “Title IX isn’t just about sports,” but also about “inequality in math and science education” and “a much broader range of fields, including engineering and technology. I’ve said that women will shape the destiny of this country, and I mean it.”

What causes more men to go into the STEM fields than women?

Gender disparities in a major are not the product of sexism, but rather the differing preferences of men and women. The fact that engineering departments are filled mostly with men does not mean they discriminate against women anymore than the fact that English departments are filled mostly with women proves that English departments discriminate against men. The arts and humanities have well over 60 percent female students, yet no one seems to view that gender disparity as a sign of sexism against men. Deep down, the Obama administration knows this, since it is planning to impose its gender-proportionality rules only on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), not other fields that have similarly large gender disparities in the opposite direction.

Many women are quite capable of mastering high-level math and science, but simply don’t find working in such a field all that interesting. As Dr. Sommers notes, many “colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science,” rather than discriminating against them. Susan Pinker, a clinical psychologist, chronicled cases of women who “abandoned successful careers in science and engineering to work in fields like architecture, law and education,” because they wanted jobs that involved more interaction with people, “not because they had faced discrimination in science.” Far from being discouraged by society from pursuing a career in math or science, these women had been strongly encouraged to pursue such a  a career: “Once they showed aptitude for math or physical science, there was an assumption that they’d pursue it as a career even if they had other interests or aspirations. And because these women went along with the program and were perceived by parents and teachers as torch bearers, it was so much more difficult for them to come to terms with the fact that the work made them unhappy.”

As Susan Pinker notes, “A mountain of published research stretching back a hundred years shows that women are far more likely than men to be deeply interested in organic subjects—people, plants and animals—than they are to be interested in things and inanimate systems, such as electrical engineering, or computer systems.”

Is this good for our economy? Should we be discouraging the best male students who want to study science and engineering to do their education abroad in Canada or Europe? Should women be steered into careers that may make it harder for them to have families and raise their children?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New PLOS study finds that men and women have major personality differences

From Science Daily. (H/T Levin)

Excerpt:

Men and women have large differences in personality, according to a new study published Jan. 4 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

The existence of such differences, and their extent, has been a subject of much debate, but the authors of the new report, led by Marco Del Giudice of the University of Turin in Italy, describe a new method for measuring and analyzing personality differences that they argue is more accurate than previous methods.

The researchers used personality measurements from more than 10,000 people, approximately half men and half women. The personality test included 15 personality scales, including such traits as warmth, sensitivity, and perfectionism. When comparing men’s and women’s overall personality profiles, which take multiple traits into account, very large differences between the sexes became apparent, even though differences look much smaller when each trait is considered separately.

However, the study indicates that previous methods to measure such differences have been inadequate, both because they focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error.

The authors conclude that the true extent of sex differences in human personality has therefore been consistently underestimated.

This has implications for many questions, not the least of which is gay marriage. If men and women are different, then children get the benefits of those differences, and they get the benefit of seeing the two sexes interact in a love relationship that’s about commitment and cooperation – not just lust and attraction.

I really appreciate it when my readers send me great articles like this that I can use, where we can all learn something about the way the world really is.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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