Do Women Really Want Equality?

Ideas

The fall season in gender-gap news has started early and with a bang. A study released yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that male doctors earn over 25% more than female doctors. Why am I not surprised? There is a constant stream of stories showing gender disparities like this: that Obama gave only 35% of Cabinet-level posts to women, that men still write 87% of Wikipedia entries, that they are approximately 80% of local news-television and radio managers, and over 75% of philosophers.

After decades of antidiscrimination laws, diversity initiatives and feminist advocacy, such data leads to an uncomfortable question: Do women actually want equality? The answer seems transparently, blindingly, obvious. Do women want to breathe fresh air? Do they want to avoid rattlesnakes and fatal heart attacks?

But from another perspective, the answer is anything but clear. In fact, there’s good reason to think that…

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