Just because a woman holds a certain job does not mean that she is as productive at it as a hypothetical man would be. Same job does not equal same work. If a woman produces 20 widgets / hour, and a man who wants her jobs says he can produce 30 in the same amount of time, and the wage is $5 / widget, then how can she be paid $150 every hour? If the employer is forced by the state to pay equally, then he would not hire the woman in the first place. Do feminists favor price controls and unemployment? Do they want to create incentives for bosses to treat women who are employed like dirt, because they are overpaid, perhaps, in hopes that the woman will leave and save them money?
Then there is the fact that many women go on maternity leave. They end up getting paid for doing no work. There are transaction costs to hiring a replacement (interviews, paying recruiters, training, etc.). The very uncertainty whether a woman will have a child is a cost to the business owner, because he may be afraid to start a project, if he can’t count on consistent performance. A woman who is away from her work too long may get rusty with her skills. There is further the fact that a woman will naturally have more responsibilities to her children than men. The facts that she is for that reason distracted from work and can’t work overtime are more obstacles to equal productivity. There also may be business reasons for all-male workforce. It may promote camaraderie and competitive spirit.
Note that being paid equally is irrelevant from the social point of view. If women want to be “free to work as hard as they choose,” then they should be prepared to do as they’ve been permitted. They should serve consumers as well as or better than men. And they should realize that customers do not care whether it is a man, woman, or alien from A. Centauri who makes their product; they just care about its value. Mises says:
The consumers patronize those shops in which they can buy what they want at the cheapest price. … They are merciless bosses, full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. For them nothing counts other than their own satisfaction. They do not care a whit for past merit and vested interests. If something is offered to them that they like better or that is cheaper, they desert their old purveyors. In their capacity as buyers and consumers they are hard-hearted and callous, without consideration for other people.
Do feminists grasp this point? They, like every other worker, will need to submit their contributions to the judgment of the free market.
It seems that women want to complete with men but aren’t very good at their jobs. So, they have used men’s natural chivalrous instincts to buy them a temporary advantage. Do women really want power without responsibility? Is that all there is to feminism? Is it a ploy to pretend to be helpless, so that men give in, while at the same time deviously getting ahead?
Now mind you, it is not men who have been contemptuous of non-feminists for alleged lack of achievement. It is certain women who have despised the more traditional careers of women and told their sisters that their lives aren’t worth much. However, if feminism is all about women wanting to be tough like men, then it’s probably a failure on its own terms.
Perhaps, feminism feeds on envy. Men are “privileged” to allow themselves to have vices, flaws. Men can be unpleasant. They can be grumpy. They ogle girls. They drink. These don’t make them disreputable, at least not too much. Women are judged far more severely. The sort of things a man can get away with, a woman cannot. Do feminists envy this male freedom to be bad? Is this ideology really that pathetically petty?