Posted by: Valentin Berceanu | November 14, 2016

20161114 – Romania needs feminism…

First of all why Romania? Because I come from that god forsaken country in Eastern Europe, that’s why.

(versiunea în română la adresa: http://wp.me/pIEsf-ja )

I’ve recently been in some “online disputes” with some people recently over certain themes regarding feminism from a Romanian perspective, but I was quite surprised when the following “sponsored” article appeared in my Facebook feed: http://ec.europa.eu/romania/news/03112016_zi_europeana_egalitate_salariala_ro.htm

But I’ve read it. And boy, did I laugh at it! Let’s be clear, when the article is talking about the difference in “gross hourly salary”, they’re talking about that gender wage gap that has all the USA feminists up in arms, you know the one I mean, the 77 cents on the dollar one (meaning 23%). So, they ran the numbers up at Eurostat and they discovered that the “gender wage gap” in Romania is 4.5% – the smallest in the entire EU (whose average is hanging around 16.7%). This finding doesn’t surprise me one bit because there isn’t another country in the EU that had implemented communism as ardently and fervently as Romania. I remember, and I even mentioned this in some of my online disputes, how, back in 1992 (only 3 years after the downfall of communism in Romania), it came out that the mother of the girl I shared a desk with at school was a housewife. A HOUSEWIFE! You can’t really imagine the amount of shock this discovery caused and how the frame of every conversation pertaining my deskmate and her family became altered by this issue. Being a housewife in communism (and obviously in post-communism) was a cardinal sin. Why is this thing relevant to the wage gap? Because in plenty of freer countries around the world being a housewife or working part-time isn’t as tabu as the general culture in Romania. Ok, but how is it relevant? It’s relevant because the gender wage gap is a life. Ok we’re not really talking about the gender wage gap here but the hourly wage gap between men and women but the methodology for calculating that is the same everywhere around the world. In the US, this hourly wage gap is 84 cents on the dollar (16% – pretty close to the EU average) but most of the US public discourse is around the 77 cents and that’s regardless of the fact that the “77 cents” indicator is more dishonest.

Ok, for the purpose of being 100% truthful, we’re not talking about a lie per se: that particular statistical indicator does exist and I assume it was correctly calculated out of data that had been accurately reported. But the indicator is irrelevant to the purpose with which it’s being used and to cover up this lack of relevance, it is usually qualified by lies regarding its actual meaning. Two such examples of lies (translated) from the article quoted above:
European employers must stop sending the message that women deserve two paycheques less than men each year…
The same pay for the same activity on the same job not only is a fundamental European value but…

These are quotes from two european commissioners with regards to “Equal Pay Day” on November 3rd. We’ll return to this invented holiday, but for now I have made an assertion and I should back it up.

The problem with this indicator comes from the realm of statistics and the misusage of this indicator when taking into account how it’s calculated. Let’s assume we have 3 women, one’s a dishwasher, one’s a pharmacy manager and the other is a consultant for Bearing Point. The gross hourly wage of each of these three women has entered into the calculation of the Romanian Women’s Gross Hourly Wage (same goes for any other country). What’s the problem? This indicator thus obtained is compared with the indicator that is similarly obtained for men and the difference between the two is CONSTANTLY misused to represent the inequality of wages between men and women “for the same activity on the same job”. It should be obvious from the calculation methodology that this is the one thing it can’t be used for.

Here’s a video in which we see Obama, yes! Obama, the current president of the USA, the most well informed man on planet Earth, lying (I can’t believe it’s just negligence) repeatedly that the “wage gap” refers to the same job (around timestamp 7:00): https://youtu.be/T09Bx6xoHSQ . Next in the video we’ll see the same explanations as above, and we’ll get to the “hourly wage gap” (84 cents – around timestamp 13:25) which is also shot down with the arguments used above. The following position that feminists love to stand on is institutional discrimination manifesting itself in keeping women away from high paying jobs. That is addressed at 18:26 and I’ll leave that story for another day. But the video is essential in that at timestamp 21:54 it hits on what this indicator is advertised as: the difference in pay for men and women doing the exact same job and we’ll learn that this indicator is about 4% in the USA. The video goes further and tries to explain the factors influencing this 4% and I recommend it in its entirety. The very small difference is also confirmed by this article http://fortune.com/2016/04/12/myth-gender-wage-gap/ where the adjusted wage-gap is 94.6 cents on the dollar meaning 5,4%.

And now I’d like to return for a moment to the indicator that Eurostat has put together for Romania. If the equivalent indicator is 16% and when we adjust for relevance we narrow it down to only 5,4%, what effect would the same kind of adjustments have on an indicator with a starting value of 4,5%? Isn’t it actually likely that applying the same kind of transformations for Romania, Luxemburg, Italy, Switzerland and Poland (all countries with values under 7,7%) we might shockingly find out that when we compare apples to apples, the women in these countries might actually be paid more than the men for the same job or at the very least the same? God forbid! Maybe in cases such as these we wouldn’t need feminism at all, eh? So how do we explain this wave of feminism that’s enveloping all of us in Romania’s online platforms? Could this be an ideological import? A movement interested only in gaining power, social influence and a little bit of political strength (yes, Canda, I’m looking at you)? Well, if it didn’t come about naturally, and at least according to the data and the reasoning above women are not oppressed in Romanian society (quite the opposite), then the only explanation for feminism even existing in the Romanian space must be an ideological import that targeted at either the political or at social control.

And for those that will keep on claiming that these indicators (77 and 84 cents) are still relevant and they still express an inequality in the way men and women are reimbursed, I would like you to explain to me how these indicators can be as relevant as you claim if the simple act of hiring an X number (easily determined from the data) of men paid at a minimum wage would make these indicator show no difference regardless of the fact that nothing had changed for any working woman at all?!

To wrap it all up, I said I’ll come back to that equal pay day of November 3rd. That’s the day when calculating in accordance with that 16.7% gap at the EU level, all men can go on unpaid leave and they’d still make the same amount of money women make till December 31st. But by simply looking at the distribution they present we can easily notice that country to country that’s just not the case. In fact, in none of the countries this “equal pay day” would fall on November 3rd, because The Netherlands (16.1%) should have it later and Latvia (17.3%) should have it earlier. Romania would end up having this day sometime in December, same for the countries I mentioned two paragraphs ago, while countries like The Czech Republic, Estonia, Austria and Germany should have it at the end of September of in the beginning of October. But I’d say that there might be a more appropriate day we should “observe” in Romania defined by the same considerations as the above: “Equal Pay Day with Iceland”. When taking the net average wage ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage ) we’re going to see that Romania has a net average wage of 462 EUR per month leading to a net average yearly income of 5556 EUR, while Iceland has a net average wage of 2830 EUR per month. This day would (indulgently) fall on March 1st unless we want to be really strict with the numbers, in which case this “observance” would be sometime at the end of February.

I made a claim with the title and now, after laying out the arguments, I can go on with my statement: Romania needs feminism about as much as a healthy organism needs a cancer and it will have the same effects if is is imported along ideological lines. There are way more stringent situations in Romania than the need for feminism. And if you think this post just came out of left field and you’ve never felt any sort of feminism creeping into your online experiences, then I consider you lucky. By my estimates we’re about 2 or 3 years behind the west in this respect and if you want to inform yourselves about Romanian feminism, I’ll urge you to get your shots first and then take a look at sereniti.ro . Watch out for potential over-dosing. It isn’t in the least surprising that two or three of the contributors are romanian women living abroad, that the proportion of single moms is significant. For the maximum experience I recommend Corina Băcanu ( http://www.sereniti.ro/author/corina-bacanu/ ) . I’ve also noticed the emergence of a group/organisation that can be found at codette.ro and despite it being very clear what they are and what they stand for, I can see all the ingredients for the same imported toxic feminism as described above.

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Responses

  1. Dunno how is it with the gender gap at you guys, here I’ve never noticed any, and I know both men and women from the same places that are paid the same. “Men not shaking hands with women, *gasp*” No… Please I don’t want what USA has, please keep your feminism away from us.


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