Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Interesting that Ms Yu-Foo asserts that "women in their 20s now earn 98 per cent of what their male counterparts do." It's even more interesting that the respondents to the ST report would get all indignant about it. NS shortchanges our guys in terms of their pay and career prospects? I don't think so.

If Ms Yu-Foo's assertion was meant to show how we're closing the gender gap in wages and work, we need a reality check. Because of 2 years' NS, women get a headstart on their careers, while the men discharge their national obligations. Chronologically, women start work or continue their education at the university at 18, while the men can only start at 20. So women have 2 years' seniority over their male counterparts, and yet are still earning 2% less than a man who is just landing an entry-level position at his first job.

It's even more disturbing to consider Ms Yu-Foo's observation that our female grads outnumber our male grads. A female grad with 2 year's seniority over her non-grad male counterpart earns 2% less than him while they are in their 20s? I'm no Math major, but somehow that doesn't sound at all equal to me.

But a more important consideration of wage equality would be the gap between male and female earnings as we grow older. I'd like some data on that before I agree that we have indeed closed the wage gap between the genders in S'pore.

Where the guys are really losing out is in their academic achievement, if what Ms Yu-Foo says about us having more female than male grads is true. That means that more women are in a better position to advance in their careers than men because they have the necessary qualifications to do so. Education does seem to be the Great Equalizer of social disparity in the long term.

So, guys, if ya wanna be lazy, slack off, and don't study, then don't complain when a girl overtakes you on the career track. Understand?

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