Lesbians tend to earn more than heterosexual women
LABOUR markets are hotbeds of inequality. For every dollar a white American man in full-time work earns, the average white woman earns 78 cents and the average Latina only 56 cents. Marriage is a boon for male earnings; motherhood drags female earnings down. Likewise, gay men earnabout 5% less than heterosexual ones in Britain and France, and 12-16% less in Canada and America, even after controlling for things like education, skills and experience. Yet one minority appears immune to this scourge: lesbians.
Marieka Klawitter of the University of Washington looked at 29 studies on wages and sexual orientation last year.* On average, they found a 9% earnings premium for lesbians over heterosexual women, compared with a penalty of 11% for gay men relative to straight men. This discrepancy has been borne out by research on America, Britain, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Even after adjusting for the fact that lesbians are on average more educated than straight women, and less likely to have children, the gap persists.
Research on this topic should be taken with a pinch of salt. Some studies rely on direct questions about sexual orientation. But around half of the 29 studies surveyed by Ms Klawitter were based on surveys in which respondents were not asked directly whether they were gay. Instead, they were asked who they live with and what their relationship with them is. Both methods tend to find a wage premium. But they may both miss some gay women in a way that distorts the results.
If getting good data is tough, pinning down why there might be a wage premium for lesbians and a penalty for gay men is even tougher. Perhaps lesbians who are “out” are more competitive than their heterosexual peers. After all, studies tend to find that men are more competitive than women, which could explain some of the wage gap between the sexes. But aworking paper published last year found that whereas gay men behaved less competitively than straight men (accounting for roughly two-fifths of their earnings penalty), there was no such difference between lesbians and other women.
Lesbians may not need to behave differently to be treated differently. They could face positive discrimination, if employers promote them on the assumption that they will not have children and so devote more time to work than straight colleagues. A study Ms Klawitter published in 2011 found that gay men working in the public sector suffered a smaller penalty than those in the private sector, whereas lesbians enjoyed a premium in the private sector but none in the public sector. One interpretation could be that discrimination of all sorts is more fiercely policed in government offices, dampening prejudice against gay men and in favour of gay women.
Lesbians’ higher earnings could also be a function of the gender of their partner. Men earn more than women, straight or gay; lesbians, deprived of the extra earnings a male partner would bring, may work harder to compensate. At any rate, they work more hours per day and weeks per year than straight women, on average (see chart). Over time this could translate into more experience and better chances of promotion. There is a clue in a paperfrom Nasser Daneshvary, C. Jeffrey Waddoups and Bradley Wimmer of the University of Nevada, which finds that lesbians who have previously been married to men receive a smaller premium than those who have not.
Finally, it could be that in same-sex couples women do not feel obliged to do as much childcare or housework, giving them more freedom to fulfil their potential in the workplace. Lesbian couples tend to work more equal hours, even when they have children, and severalstudies find that same-sex households share chores more evenly than heterosexual ones.
Whatever the reason for lesbians’ wage premium, it does not make them a privileged group. There is evidence that they face discrimination in hiring relative to straight women, even though their pay is better. Poverty rates among lesbian couples are 7.9%, compared with 6.6% among heterosexual ones. And for boosting earnings, as in so many realms, nothing beats being a straight, white, married man.
A Los Angeles Times article that may be of interest for many:
In genetic study of homosexuality, evidence that nurture and nature conspire
Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times – Oct 8, 2015
For men, new research suggests that clues to sexual orientation may lie not just in the genes, but in the spaces between the DNA, where molecular marks instruct genes when to turn on and off and how strongly to express themselves.
On Thursday, University of California, Los Angeles, molecular biologist Tuck C. Ngun reported that in studying the genetic material of 47 pairs of identical male twins, he has identified “epigenetic marks” in nine areas of the human genome that are strongly linked to male homosexuality.
In individuals, said Ngun, the presence of these distinct molecular marks can predict homosexuality with an accuracy of close to 70 percent.
That news, presented at the 2015 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics on Thursday, may leave the genetically uninitiated scratching their heads.
But experts said the results — as yet unpublished in a peer-reviewed journal — offer preliminary new evidence that a man’s genetic inheritance is only one influence on his sexual orientation. Through the epigenome, the results suggest, some facet of life experience likely also primes a man for same-sex attraction.
Over a person’s lifetime, myriad environmental factors — nutrition, poverty, a mother’s love, education, exposure to toxic chemicals — all help shape the person he will become.
Researchers working in the young science of epigenetics acknowledge they are unsure just how an individual’s epigenome is formed. But they increasingly suspect it is forged, in part, by the stresses and demands of external influences. A set of chemical marks that lies between the genes, the epigenome changes the function of genetic material, turning the human body’s roughly 20,000 protein-coding genes on or off in response to the needs of the moment.
While genes rarely change over a lifetime, the epigenome is constantly changing.
Geneticists suggest that together, the human genome and its epigenome reflect the interaction of nature and nurture — both our fixed inheritance and our bodies’ flexible responses to the world — in making us who we are.
Ngun’s study of twins doesn’t reveal how or when a male takes on the epigenomic marks that distinguish him as homosexual. Many researchers believe that a person’s eventual sexual preferences are shaped in the uterus, by hormonal shifts during key stages of fetal brain development.
By imprinting themselves on the epigenome, though, environmental influences may powerfully affect how an individual’s genes express themselves over the course of his life. Ngun’s findings suggest they may interact with genes to nudge sexual orientation in one direction or the other.
“The relative contributions of biology versus culture and experience in shaping sexual orientation in humans continues to be debated,” said University of Maryland pharmacology professor Margaret M. McCarthy, who was not involved in the current study. “But regardless of when, or even how, these epigenetic changes occur,” she added, the new research “demonstrates a biological basis to partner preference.”
To find the epigenomic markers of male homosexuality, Ngun, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, combed through the genetic material of 47 sets of identical male twins. Thirty-seven of those twin sets were pairs in which one was homosexual and the other was heterosexual. In 10 of the pairs studied, both twins identified as homosexual.
In identical twins, DNA is shared and overlaps perfectly. But the existence of twin pairs in which one is homosexual and the other is not offers strong evidence that something other than DNA alone influences sexual orientation. Ngun and his colleagues looked for patterns of DNA methylation — the chemical process by which the epigenome is encoded — to identify the missing factor in partner preference.
Their analysis generated a dataset far too large for a team of humans to make sense of. So they unleashed a machine learning algorithm on the data to search for regularities that distinguished the epigenomes of homosexual twin-pairs from twins in which only one was homosexual.
In nine compact regions scattered across the genome, they found patterns of epigenomic differences that would allow a prediction far more accurate than a random guess of an individual’s sexual orientation, Ngun reported Thursday.
McCarthy and other experts cautioned that the discovery of epigenomic marks suggestive of homosexuality is a far cry from finding the causes of sexual preference.
The distinctive epigenomic marks observed by Ngun and his colleagues could result from some other biological or lifestyle factor common to homosexual men but unrelated to their sexuality, said University of Utah geneticist Christopher Gregg. They could correlate with homosexuality but have nothing to do with it.
“Epigenetic marks are the consequence of complex interactions between the genetics, development and environment of an individual,” said University of Cambridge geneticist Eric Miska. “Simple correlations — if significant — of epigenetic marks of an individual with anything from favorite football player to disease risk does not imply a causal relationship or understanding.”
One longtime researcher in the field of sexual orientation praised Ngun’s use of identical twins as a means of teasing apart the various biological factors that influence the trait.
“Our best guess is that there are genes” that affect a man’s sexual orientation “because that’s what twin studies suggest,” said Northwestern University psychologist J. Michael Bailey, who has explored a range of physiological markers that point to homosexuality’s origins in the womb. But the existence of identical twin pairs in which only one is homosexual “conclusively suggest that genes don’t explain everything,” Bailey added.
While Ngun’s research needs to be replicated in larger studies of twins, it advances the fitful process of better understanding how — and when — a boy’s sexual orientation develops, Bailey said.
(c)2015 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com
A post titled “32 Competent Things Men Do That We Find Sexual, Ranked” on the Hairpin a few weeks ago was a hysterical and slightly heart-breaking commentary on the allure of even minimal efforts by men at basic tasks. Though obviously meant as humor—there were items signaling basic decency like “Knows the names of two of your friends” and oddly specific ones like “Kicks your feet, propped up on coffee table, out of the way so he can walk around you”—some hit a bit close to home, at least for me. “Takes groceries out of shopping bags” and “Holds a baby” were two that I’ve been known not just to find attractive when performed by men but tempted to reward. A recent study on the division of labor following the birth of a child indicates that I might not be alone in this appreciation. It turns out that having an ideological commitment to an egalitarian sharing of household and parenting duties doesn’t always mean that real life will reflect those values.
“What’s interesting is that these couples are ideologically egalitarian yet they still fall into these traditional gender traps.”
Recently researchers at Ohio State University asked highly educated, dual-earning heterosexual couples—who also split household labor equally—to take surveys and keep time diaries of their work output (paid work, childcare, household chores) following the birth of their first child. “What’s interesting is that these couples are ideologically egalitarian yet they still fall into these traditional gender traps,” says Jill E. Yavorsky, a co-author of the study published earlier this spring in Journal of Marriage and Family. That both new parents increased their total workloads was unsurprising, with women adding 21 hours of total work per week and men adding 12.5 hours. But despite those added hours, men actually dropped five hours of housework per week following the birth. Women engaged in more childcare than men, and, of the childcare men did perform, it was largely limited to engagement childcare, like reading and playing, as opposed to physical childcare, like cleaning, feeding, and dressing the baby. These findings would all be unremarkable if it weren’t for the fact that these couples had shared household and paid work equally before the birth of the child.
What was more concerning than the amount of work that women added compared to men was how much men perceived their work loads to increase when they had not. In surveys, men over-estimated their total work per week by 26 hours while women over-estimated by 19. The time diaries, which are considered a more accurate metric of categorizing time spent on an activity, told a different story. Men had actually dropped five hours per week of housework, but they believed that they had added 15.
While it is tempting to blame men’s phantom workload on self-aggrandizing delusions, these delusions are socially reinforced when we congratulate men for participating in these duties at all. The woman who leaves work to pick up her kids senses the collective eye roll from her colleagues, while a man doing the same is considered a model citizen. These are not just women’s feelings of being a burden in the workplace: A 2013 study in the Journal of Social Issues found that men are more likely to be granted flexible work schedules by managers when they request them than women are.
“[F]athers’ desires to be present for their children,” the researchers noted, “may not carry through to their daily involvement in care-giving tasks.”
Other recent studies that have focused exclusively on fathers show a similar disconnect between how men perceive their role as parents and what duties they actually perform. A study from earlier this year in Academy of Management Studiesfound that men who are more involved with their children have higher job satisfaction but that involvement doesn’t necessarily translate to care. The researchers asked men to rate the importance of paternal tasks on a scale of one to five, with five being “extremely important.” The task of “doing your part in the day-to-day childcare tasks” averaged only a 3.9, ranking below providing discipline, financial security, and emotional and loving support. “[F]athers’ desires to be present for their children,” the researchers noted, “may not carry through to their daily involvement in care-giving tasks.” In other words, men are less likely to prioritize the more laborious and often mundane tasks that go into actually keeping infants alive, like feeding and bathing them.
It is tempting again to blame men for over-valuing and over-estimating their contributions, but the pernicious belief that men are less competent at caring for infants might also inform their understanding of how they can add value. A 2009 study in The Journal of Advanced Nursing found that fathers have far lower confidence in their parenting self-efficacy than mothers do. This is in sharp contrast to men’s self-perception in the workplace—where they over-estimate their performance by 30 percent—and in the dating pool—where men are foundto over-estimate the level of sexual interest that attractive women have in them.
Surely there is room for expanding the genre of actually skilled things that fathers can do with their babies, like cleaning them, feeding them, and soothing them when they cry.
Men doing less physical childcare is also the result of maternal gatekeeping, wherein the mother dictates which of the tasks involving infant care are done by her and which are done by the father and others. A Family Relationsstudy published in 2005 found that the mother’s beliefs about the role of the father were influential in how involved the father became. This is not because women are shrill control freaks. “Maternal gatekeeping, in part, exists because a woman’s status is defined by how good they are at motherhood,” Yarovsky says. “They have a lot of incentives to maintain that area because that’s where much of their perceived status comes from.” Men’s status, on the other hand, still comes from perceived competence at breadwinning. The same study that found involved fathers were happier also found that men who prioritized time at home with their children were often passed over for promotions or salary increases. Even when a couple is sincerely committed to sharing work equally, outside forces often reward traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity, trapping the couple within them.
One of the most important ways that fathers become more competent caregivers is by spending alone time with their infants. Alone time necessitates the development of competence in all areas of care and builds the confidence of the father to perform these tasks, which alleviates the labor burden on new mothers. This is an opportunity that Portugal recognizes: The government provides a bonus leave on top of mandatory paid paternity leave for fathers interested in spending time alone with their kids. The rest of the world is slow in catching up. In the United States, suggesting that more men take their allotted paternity leave when we remain the only country in the industrialized world that still lacks any mandatory paid leave for new mothers—much less new fathers—is unfortunately wishful thinking. Adopting the generous Swedish parental leave model tomorrow would be ideal but even their paternity leave policy has been 40 years in the making. In the fight to create federally mandated paid maternity leave, we would be well advised to champion leave options for fathers at the same time.
It would admittedly be a bummer for women to miss out on witnessing all of those sexy, competent moments of simple baby holding. But surely there is room for expanding the genre of actually skilled things that fathers can do with their babies, like cleaning them, feeding them, and soothing them when they cry. And there are likely more than enough exhausted mothers who could come up with more than 32 other tasks they would love help with too.
Starting from the bottom and rising to the top is psychologically and physically demanding for those starting out life with low socioeconomic status.
Why Is The Color Red So Powerful?: Photos
Study hard. Work hard. Pay your dues, and anyone can be a success. This is the classic advice imparted to those striving for a better life, a prescription that generally fails to account for other factors that inhibit upward mobility in people who start out life in an economically insecure household.
Based on a multi-year study of nearly 300 rural African Americans teenagers transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, researchers found that those who started life in a disadvantaged background but exhibited higher levels of self-control showed reduced depression and less aggression. On the downside, those same individuals also have cells that are “biologically old, relative to their chronological age,” lead author Gregory E. Miller, professor of psychology in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. Despite being psychologically resilient, these highly disciplined individuals are suffering physically.
Self-control is a strong determinant of success, as the authors write in their paper. It’s essential to setting objectives, following through with plans and resisting temptations on the path to fulfilling those goals. Children who exhibit greater self-control do better in school, earn higher salaries and save more money.
Children who start out in life in lower socioeconomic backgrounds face higher barriers to success. The quality of education available to them isn’t as high, and they often spend fewer years in school. Violence, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse are all potential pitfalls on the road to success, and self discipline can help navigate through those hurdles.
Exhibiting the level of discipline needed to succeed and rise out of a low socioeconomic status environment isn’t just psychologically challenging, but also metabolically stressful. Status-seekers beginning in low socioeconomic backgrounds with high levels of self-control faced greater health risks, as evident in levels of obesity, blood pressure and stress hormones among this group. These early indicators could signal much more severe health consequences later in life.
Conversely, those with privileged socioeconomic backgrounds as well as high levels of self control showed both favorable psychological and physiological outcomes.
There are a number of potential explanations for this disparity, but none of them is provable at this point. Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may simply have fewer opportunities to take breathers or don’t have the same support networks to ease their burden. Success may bring them into environments where they feel alienated, such as those who might be the first in their families to attend college, triggering stress reactions, which then affect health.
As the issue of income equality continues to draw attention in the wake of the Great Recession, particularly with a national election coming up next year, studies increasingly show the enormous difficulties facing anyone trying to climb from one social station to the next in the United States. A Harvard study released last year, titled “Equality of Opportunity,” found that while the mobility rate has held steady for decades, escaping poverty in the United States is more difficult than in other developed nations like Canada or those in Western Europe. An American born at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder has an 8 percent chance of working up to the top, the study found.
Taken together, both studies suggest that while upward mobility is still alive in the United States, it’s not exactly well, and, when it comes to preliminary health indicators, neither are those fortunate and dedicated enough to experience it.
1. Busy people want to look like they have a mission. Productive people have a mission for their lives.
Busy people hide their doubt about the destination of their lives by acting confident in their little steps.
Productive people allow others to see the doubt in their little steps because they are clear on the destination.
2. Busy people have many priorities. Productive people have few priorities
Nobody is ever too busy, if they care they will make time. Life is a question of priorities. If you have 3 priorities, you have priorities. If you have 25 priorities, you have a mess.
The pareto principle is that 80% of your desired results come from 20% of your activity. Henry Ford built a fortune not by building better cars, but by building a better system for making cars. Busy people try to make better cars, productive people develop better systems for making cars.
3. Busy people say yes quickly. Productive people say yes slowly
Warren Buffet’s definition of integrity is: “You say no to most things”.
If you don’t say “no” to most things, you are diving your life up into millions of little pieces spread out amongst other people’s priorities. Integrity is that your values are clear and that your time is going to serve those values.
4. Busy people focus on action. Productive people focus on clarity before action
To focus on the top 20% of activities, you must gain clarity about what those activities are for yourself. The greatest resource you will ever have to guide you to live a good life is your own personal experience – if well documented. Sadly, most people only document their life in facebook status updates. Keep a diary and take 5 minutes every day to reflect on the past day, on what worked, on what didn’t work; and some time on what inspires you.
5. Busy people keep all doors open. Productive people close doors
As a young person it is good to open options. It is good to want to travel, to learn languages, to climb mountains, to go to university, to work in tech, to live in another country. However, there comes a point in life where one must let go of most options and focus. If my goal this year is to learn spanish – I will speak spanish at the end of the year. If my goal this year is to speak spanish, earn 30% more, travel to 10 countries, get fit, find a girlfriend, go to all the concerts… I will not speak spanish at the end of this year.
6. Busy people talk about how busy they are. Productive people let their results do the talking
Stephen King says: “A writer is a producer of words. Produce words: you are a writer. Don’t produce words: you are not a writer”.
It is a clear binary thing. Talking about writing is not writing. Published authors don’t talk about their next book – they are focussed on producing it. I have grown to have less and less interest in what people tell me that they are going to do – I ask them what they have already done. Past performance is the only good indicator of future performance.
Feeling productive is not the same as being productive. This is important. I can feel productive while I’m playing minecraft. I can feel unproductive while I’m producing an excellent blog post that will help others take better actions.
7. Busy people talk about how little time they have. Productive people make time for what is important
Any time we spend on excuses is time not spent on creation. If you allow yourself to practice excuses, you will get better and better at excuses. Productive people don’t use time as an excuse. An action either supports their highest values and mission, or it does not. If it does not, they don’t do it – even if they have a whole day off.
There is an Irish saying: “It is better to do something than nothing”.
This is a lie! It is better to do nothing than to do an action that doesn’t connect with your highest values. Sit still.
8. Busy people multitask. Productive people focus
Productive people know about focus.
Do you know about the Pomodoro technique? It is brutal, but it is effective. Identify a task to be done (for instance, write this blog post). Set a timer to 20 minutes. Work on the task until the time sounds. Any distraction (I must check email, I must get some water, I must go to the bathroom) and you reset the timer to 20. How many pomodoros can you complete in a day?
9. Busy people respond quickly to emails. Productive people take their time
Email is a handy list of priorities. The problem: they are other people’s priorities, not yours. If you respond to every email, you are dividing up your life into a thousand tiny bits that serve other people’s priorities.
There are 3 choices when you first review your email inbox: Delete, Do, Defer. This is not a post on email management, here are a few on managing email overload from Gigaom, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur.
10. Busy people want other people to be busy. Productive people want others to be effective
Busy managers measure hours of activity, productive managers measure output. Busy managers are frustrated by others looking relaxed, looking like they have time, looking like they are enjoying their work. Productive managers love seeing others enjoy their work, love creating an environment in which others can excel.
Busy people are frustrated. They want to be valued for their effort, not for their results.
There is a Hindu saying: “We have a right to our labour, not to the fruits of our labour”.
We have a right to enjoy being excellent at our work, not a right to enjoy the car, the house, the money that comes from doing good work. Productivity is about valuing the journey towards excellence, not any moment of activity.
11. Busy people talk about how they will change. Productive people are making those changes.
Kilian Jornet doesn’t spend much time talking about what he will do. He talks about what he has done, what he has learnt, what inspires him.
Spend less time talking about what you will do and dedicate that time to creating the first step. What can you do now that requires the approval of nobody else? What can you do with the resources, knowledge and support that you have now? Do that. It is amazing how the universe rewards the person who stops talking and begins.
We are born with incredible potential. At the age of 20, the best compliment that can be paid is that you have a lot of potential. At the age of 30, it is still ok. At 40, you have a lot of potential is becoming an insult. At 60, telling someone that they have a lot of potential is probably the cruelest insult that can be made about their life.
Don’t let your potential go to waste. Create something amazing. This is its own reward.