Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Global Gender Gap Report 2009 - A misleading name

The new "Global Gender Gap Report" is out. In this report, gender equality is rated by:
Economic participation and opportunity
Educational attainment
Political empowerment
Health and survival
My biggest problem with this report is the misleading name as this reports does tell us more about womens' position in society than about gender equality. I cite:
Gender equality vs. women’s empowerment

The third distinguishing feature of the Global Gender Gap Index is that it ranks countries according to their proximity to gender equality rather than to women’s empowerment. Our aim is to focus on whether the gap between women and men in the chosen variables has declined, rather than whether women are “winning” the “battle of the sexes”. Hence, the Index rewards countries that reach the point where outcomes for women equal those for men, but it neither rewards nor penalizes cases in which women are outperforming men in particular variables.
If you ever spend some time thinking about gender equality in western countries you will certainly be able to pretend the outcome. Men will lead in the economic and political category, while women will lead in the educational and health/survival categories. This report has an interesting way to define gender equality.

Let us take Russia as an example. Wikipedia tells me the life expectancy for Russian men is almost 14 years lower than for Russian women (data from 2009). Life expectancy is besides sex ratio at birth the only criteria for the "Health and Survival" category.

When it comes to education, the report looks at the following criterias:
Female literacy rate over male value
Female net primary level enrolment over male value
Female net secondary level enrolment over male value
Female gross tertiary level enrolment over male value
And what can I say, Russian women are doing very well here, too. For the first 3 itmes the ratio is equal, for the last one the female-to-male ratio is 1.35 (for 100 men on Russian universities there are 135 women).

Now the above results for women, as rated by the report, would lead to a horrible rating in the category, but as we are talking about men here

we apparently have gender equality. If it isn´t cynical to call a difference in life expectancy of almost 14 years gender equality, I don´t know what is. And cynical might be the wrong word here.

Men and women working - The American Time Use Survey

A warning, this post is all about numbers. If this is not your kind of thing, skip this one.

This is a recurring topic and a myth that is in the media every now and then. A woman's work is never done and while she has a career, she still has to do most of the housework while hubby does nothing more than sitting on the couch watching TV. Luckily, the Bureau of Labour Statistics has counted the amount of minutes, men and women work so we can see how fair men and women share their work.

About this Survey:
American Time Use Survey

Data collection for the ATUS began in January 2003. Sample cases for the survey are selected monthly and interviews are conducted continuously throughout the year. In 2008, approximately 12,700 individuals were interviewed. Estimates are released annually.
I drew all numbers from table 3. Using these columns.
House - Household Activities
Care1 - Caring for and helping household members
Care2 - Caring for and helping non-household members
Work - Work and work-related activities
Edu - Educational activities
A first look.
Time spent in primary activities (1) for the civilian population by age, sex, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, marital status, and educational attainment, 2008 annual averages

Average hours per day spent in primary activities (2)  

                               House   Care1   Care2    Work     Edu     Sum  
Men, 15 years and over......    1.30     .36     .18    4.52     .30    6.66
Women, 15 years and over....    2.13     .70     .27    2.99     .52    6.61
Very obvious, the average man works more, while the average woman does more childcare and housework. In total not much of a difference (men working 3 minutes more).

A closer look.
                               House   Care1   Care2    Work     Edu     Sum 
Marital status and sex:
 Married, spouse present....    2.01     .76     .23    4.06     .10    7.16
  Men.......................    1.50     .55     .18    4.94     .06    7.23
  Women.....................    2.53     .97     .29    3.16     .15    7.10
 Other marital statuses.....    1.40     .27     .22    3.35     .90    6.14
  Men.......................    1.05     .12     .19    3.98     .88    6.22
  Women.....................    1.70     .41     .25    2.82     .91    6.09
Again we have a small difference with a little bit more workload for men. One could argue that I should have taken "Purchasing goods and services" into account which of course includes buying groceries for the family. While this is true I could argue that his also includes personal shoppings, nail, tanning and hair salons, which, taking a wild guess here, women spend more time with than men. But before we start bickering about numbers, even when we include them in total the difference is between 11-12 minutes this time with slightly more workload for women.

I have seen another take on this issue. Sometimes an analysis focuses on leisure time and we see men having more leisure time than women. This is true for this survey as well. Now we know there is not that much of a difference when it comes to the daily grind. So why do women have less leisure time? A look at the other columns:
Personal - Personal care activities
Shop - Purchasing goods and services
Eat - Eating and drinking
Org - Organisational, civic and religious activities
Tele - Telephon calls, mails and e-mails
Leisure - Leisure and sports

Average hours per day spent in primary activities (2)  

                          Personal   Eat  Shop   Org  Tele Other  Leisure   Sum
Men, 15 years and over......  9.22  1.28   .60   .30   .14   .17  5.52    17.23
Women, 15 years and over....  9.55  1.18   .92   .37   .28   .24  4.86    17.40

Marital status and sex:
 Married, spouse present....  9.11  1.32   .82   .40   .16   .21  4.81    16.83
  Men.......................  8.92  1.39   .65   .38   .10   .17  5.17    16.78
  Women.....................  9.31  1.26   .99   .43   .22   .25  4.44    16.90
 Other marital statuses.....  9.71  1.12   .71   .26   .27   .19  5.60    17.86
  Men.......................  9.61  1.15   .54   .20   .18   .16  5.96    17.80
  Women.....................  9.81  1.10   .85   .31   .35   .22  5.30    17.94
Time differences here between 7 and 10 minutes. Also we can see that difference in leisure time is not a result of unfair distribution of work. Interestingly the above confirms many stereotypes. Men spend more time eating and doing sports and other leisure activities, while women take more time for personal care, shopping, chatting with others as well as religious and civic activities. Of course one can again argue that shopping doesn't belong in there as grocery shopping can be considered housework, but then again, the difference is just a few minutes.

In conclusion we can say, besides the myths, men and women in the USA are able to share their workload fairly. While of course there will be male couch potatoes and overworked wifes (as well as the other way round), this is not true for the average couple.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Military Sexual Assault - Add on

Rape victims in the military again. As noticed by TS, (link to the original article) those victims fall under the radar as well.

Some numbers:
There is a widespread presumption that most victims of sexual assault in the military services are women. That presumption, however, is false.

In a 2006 survey of active-duty troops, 6.8 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men said they had experienced unwanted sexual contact in the previous 12 months. Since there are far more men than women in the services, that translates into roughly 22,000 men and 14,000 women.

Among women, the number of victims who report their assaults is small. Among men, it is infinitesimal. Last year the services received 2,530 reports of sexual assault involving female victims – and 220 involving male victims.

According to a 2007 study by a team of VA researchers, a nationwide screening of veterans seeking VA services turned up more than 60,000 with sexual trauma. More than half of those – nearly 32,000 – were men.
And a common theme emerges again. Although most victims are men, men are far less likely to tell.

The effect that activism can have on rape rates is quite impressive.
Reported rapes have fallen to the lowest level in 20 years as DNA evidence helps send more rapists to prison and victims are more willing to work with police and prosecutors, victims advocates and crime researchers say. 
The FBI estimates 89,000 women reported being raped in 2008 — 29 women for every 100,000 people. That's down from a high of 109,062 reported rapes in 1992 — 43 women for every 100,000 people.

Keep in mind that raising awareness should have a different effect on the rape rates as more people are reporting. This makes the decline even more impressive. (Although the article mentions FBI data, I am pretty sure we are talking about the National Crime Victimization Survey.)

I guess it is time to look at every victim.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Domestic Violence, Gender Neutrality, Obama and feminists.

One problem male victims of DV have is their invisibility. DV is seen as something men do to women. This stereotype gives men are hard time to come forward. This also limits access to resources helping those victims. That those victims exists has been proven time and time again. Professor Fiebert of the University of California has an impressive selection of studies online
This bibliography examines 256 scholarly investigations: 201 empirical studies and 55 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.  The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 253,500.
Even the feminists and DV-shelters most favorite study, the Violence Against Women Survey found that 835,000 men (about 40% of all victims found by that survey) suffer from DV.

Luckily advocates are helping to move those forgotten victims into the spotlight. One recent example:
A children's advocacy group alleges that the state of West Virginia has engaged in unconstitutional and discriminatory funding of domestic violence programs and shelters, and has filed a lawsuit to stop it.


According to the suit, part of the criteria for licensure includes having a "certified domestic violence advocate" who has "been approved by the board of directors of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence." Likewise, the Board requires that not only all family protection programs have one-third of its service providers be certified by WVCADV, but also those programs conducting outreach services have its staff attend "at least two West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence advocate certifications training a year."

Because their role has been written into the state Code of State Rules, Peyton says that WVCADV, an Elkview-based non-profit organization, has become a de facto government agency.


Furthermore, language in WVCADV's own advocate certification program conflicts with state law. Along with obtaining a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women, WVCADV requires that "domestic violence advocates promote the safety and well-being of women and children who are victims of abusive relationships."

This [...] constitutes gender discrimination.
And one similar example from the past.
A California court ruling addresses a problem we do not hear much about when it comes to domestic violence. Shelters now must offer male victims of domestic violence the same help and protection they offer women.


While the court said access to programs had to be equal, the actual services do not. And therein lies the problem that will likely keep this legal battle going for years.

An agency, for example, could maintain a battered women's shelter, but give hotel vouchers to men. The National Coalition for Free Men, which is leading the charge in this lawsuit, does not like that, but it is better than nothing.

The group also does not like that brochures are geared towards women.
"These programs will often still reach out to victims in a gender-specific manner, only referring to them as women and that doesn't help the male victims come forward," said Marc Angelucci, attorney for the National Coalition for Free Men. "This is really going to take a long time and more lawsuits to change."

Now as some of you will know this month is DV awareness month. And while president Obama said the following
Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.
and also aknwoledges that DV is something that can impact everyone,
Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance.
he still frames DV the following way.
A family's home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members.
For male victims, sadly those statements are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

And finally to those who believe feminists are for equality, one could believe gender neutrality and DV is an issue for feminists. Well I was not able to find a feminist source even mentioning the recent success in West Virginia, or the othering of male victims by president Obama, but hey, there are of course people needed to fight gendered soup comercials. Keep up the good work! Yay!