Is the UK an oppressive patriarchy?

(the answer, of course, is no)

To answer this question,. I recommend the paper A simplified approach to measuring national gender inequality that was published in PLOS one in 2019. You can access the paper by clicking the link. I am pleased to see that it is not hidden behind a paywall.

The are existing measures of gender inequalities across nations. One of the most important is the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI). Unfortunately, the GGGI is rigged statistic. The GGGI not only selectively focusses on issues highlighted by the women rights movement, it is also a truncated scale. For example, if a metric favours women, it might be recorded as being in the range between zero and one and if a metric favours men, it might be scored between zero and minus one. In a roughly equal society the plus scores and minus scores would be small and cancel each other out, giving a score of zero. However this can not happen with GGGI. Any metric that shows boys are disadvantaged is scored as zero. On the other hand, if a metric shows girls are disadvantaged it is always scored. This approach is morally indefensible.

The GGGI is designed/rigged to only highlight highlight disadvantages faced by women and girls and obscure disadvantages faced by men and boys. For example higher suicide rates, longer prison sentences for the same crime, and lower educational achievement for men will be obscured by the GGGI.

Another problem is that some measures of ‘gender inequality’ may simply reflect different choices men and women make rather than structural oppression. For example, the gender pay-gap. Men, on average, work longer hours and further from home, while women are more likely to choose part time work. These differences are more likely due to choices men and women enter into willingly.

Another measure of inequality that women’s groups point to, is fewer female politicians in positions of power. In the UK, at least, this difference is small and two of the last four Prime-Ministers have been female. However, it is important to remember that politics is downstream of culture. If you looks at journalism and NGOs, both of which have a great influence of over politics there is a not only a female preponderance but a strong feminist bias. The GGGI fails to recognise or record this bias.

Some measures that could have been included in the GGGI, but were not. Those measures would have pointed towards gender inequality operating to the detriment of men. Over-representation of men in risky occupations such as trawling, higher suicide rates, longer prison sentences for the same crime and men, on average, spending fewer years in retirement, would be good examples.

To circumvent some of these problems the authors Gijsbert Stoet and David C. Geary used three simple measures that we should be able to agree on. 1) Educational opportunities in childhood. 2) Healthy life expectancy and 3) Overall life satisfaction.

There is a lot of detail in the paper that I can not include here. Broadly speaking if a measure favours women ie women are relatively advantaged it is scored above one. For example, in the US in 2016 the average healthy life span for women was 71 and 68 for men given an average healthy life span ratio of 1.0423.

In order to have 0 representing parity, the results are subtracted from one. This results in a value of minus 0.0423. A similar approach was adopted for the other metrics.

The final variable that was considered was Human Development Index. The UK belongs to the 42 countries in the very highly developed category.

Looking at the figure above, one trend is immediately apparent. In poorly developed countries women are relatively disadvantaged whereas in developed countries it is men who are disadvantaged and usually in all three domains.

Looking at the UK, in particular, two of three measures favour women. Basic education – minus 0.01264 and life satisfaction minus 0.1117. Healthy life span 0.000* for men and women was equal though women do live longer overall. This results in a composite score of minus 0.00794.

The UK is not an oppressive patriarchy. If anything, the culture favours women over men.

* the lack of difference between men and women in healthy life span (women live longer overall) has been taken as evidence of sexism in health care by some feminist journalists such as Alexandra Topping see here. The correct state of affairs, according to feminist orthodoxy, would be for men to spend fewer years in good health as is the case with some other highly developed countries.

By femgoggles

I was abandoned by my parents in the black mountains and raised by timberwolves. On my return to the 'civilised world' with questionable table manners, I became a detached observer of human behaviour in general and gender relations in particular. This blog is the product of those observations.

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