Race and Gender Checks Coming to a Boardroom Near You

“The Office of the New York City Comptroller was created in 1801 to be the chief auditor of local government and all its various financial activities. The comptroller’s top responsibilities, as bullet-pointed on the office’s website, are “conducting performance and financial audits of all City agencies,” “serving as a fiduciary to the City’s five public pension funds,” “providing comprehensive oversight of the City’s budget and fiscal condition,” “reviewing City contracts for integrity, accountability and fiscal compliance,” and “resolving claims both on behalf of and against the City.”

Or, you know, pressuring private companies to do race and gender checks.

On Thursday, New York Comptroller Brad Lander proudly announced that the city’s pension funds, with their estimated $263 billion under management, had successfully pressured four huge Wall Street firms (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and BlackRock), plus Ford Motor Company, to publicly disclose a “Board Matrix” containing the “self-identified gender, race and/or ethnicity of individual directors.””

“What Lander and the pension funds are explicitly saying is that not knowing the racial and gender self-identification of a company’s board candidate hinders the decision-making process on how to vote. All things else being equal, if Terry Smith self-identifies as a white male instead of a Latinx female, the diversity-valuing city of New York is assumed to be more likely to vote “no” on his candidacy. (One can only imagine where voters’ preferences would lie if the nominee refused to self-identify with either a gender or a race.)

There is something both farcical and creepy about this obsession with tracking other people’s (mostly) immutable characteristics and using the power of government to compel disclosure thereof. “Race and/or ethnicity” is a tautologically unscientific classification, not improved upon by the city’s suggested “best practices” categories of African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, white/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American. What box should Tiger Woods check? Why are we asking individuals to join a group? What on earth does any of this have to do with providing an auditing function on a city government with a $100 billion budget and the highest taxes in the country?

Gotham is hardly alone in conducting race/gender checks on big business. Illinois since last year has required publicly traded companies based in the state to not only provide a board diversity report, but also a “description of the corporation’s policies and practices for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among its board of directors and executive officers,” and “whether and how demographic diversity is considered” in senior hiring. A newer law imposes further diversity reporting requirements on any private company with more than 100 employees.

Maryland in 2019 passed a Gender Diversity in the Board Room law requiring publicly traded companies with sales higher than $5 million and nonprofits with budgets higher than $5 million to submit the gender information of their boards.

And just last month, a Superior Court judge struck down as unconstitutional a 2020 California law requiring publicly traded companies in the state to have on their boards at least one member who self-identifies as “Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or…as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has imposed board-composition requirements of its own (approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission) that could get noncompliant companies delisted as soon as 2023.”

Biden’s Plans To Fix the Pay Gap Won’t Actually Help Women

“evidence that this actually helps women is mixed. Meanwhile, such restrictions would have unintended consequences.

“For example, employers who can’t ask about prior salary might assume that a female candidate would accept less money than a man, because women make less on average,” as The New York Times has previously noted. In this scenario, a ban on salary history discussions could lead to women getting lowballed in job offers.

Salary history bans could also cost people—particularly women and younger workers—some job offers. It’s not hard to imagine an employer choosing to hire someone whose salary requirements seem slightly lower than an equally qualified candidate with higher requirements. In this case, prior salary disclosure could mean the difference between getting a job or not.

In other cases, where an employer has a strong preference for a particular candidate, the company may be prepared to offer a higher salary than the baseline in order to recruit them. Without knowing the candidate’s salary history, however, the employer may be lost as to what to offer. They might offer lower than the candidate currently makes, leading the candidate to reject the job that could have otherwise been a good fit.

Which is all to say that surely some women may actually benefit from past salary disclosure—especially now that young women are out-earning their male counterparts.

In general, letting employers and prospective employees exchange more information, not less, seems likely to lead to the best matches and the most satisfaction.”

“Today’s rhetoric about wider disparities in male and female incomes tends to 1) rely on research looking at incomes across professions and positions and 2) ignore explanations other than discrimination that might explain pay disparities—things like gender differences in types of work, work schedules, and years in the workforce. Politicians and media then use this distorted picture to spawn outrage and get kudos for addressing the issue, even if nothing they’re doing can actually “fix” the complicated causes behind disparities.

There may be a broader discussion to have about whether female-heavy industries are undervalued or how choosing to have children may harm women’s salary prospects more than men’s. But the issue is nowhere near the simplistic narrative that many modern progressives often make it out to be, in which sexist bosses and companies simply choose to pay women less than men for the same work and everything can be fixed with federal mandates.”

How an Equal Pay Law in Colorado Is Backfiring

“A new employee compensation bill in Colorado was supposed to help close gender gaps in worker pay. But the so-called Equal Pay for Equal Work Act could be making it harder for Colorado residents—regardless of gender—to find jobs.

The law—which was passed in 2019 and took effect at the start of this year—ushered in a range of rules regarding employee compensation, including new procedures for adjudicating sex-based wage discrimination complaints and new record-keeping, notice, and transparency requirements. Among these are a stipulation that employers must directly state a position’s pay (or a realistic pay range), benefits, and “any bonuses, commissions, or other compensation” as part of every job listing. Furthermore, companies are barred from asking prospective hires about their salary histories.

Thus, not only does the law open companies with Colorado workers up to new legal liabilities and administrative burdens, it also takes away some employer flexibility when it comes to attracting and setting pay for new hires. Many companies would prefer to keep compensation talk more private and, in such private discussions, to use previous salary as a guide to negotiations.

Understandably, some employers who can help it are opting out.

“This is a remote job except that it is not eligible to be performed in Colorado,” says an Airbnb listing for an accounting manager.

“This work is to be performed entirely outside of Colorado,” says an Ally Financial posting about a developer position.

“Work location is flexible if approved by the Company except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado,” says one managerial job listing at Johnson & Johnson.

Century 21, Cigna, Drizly, Eventbrite, GoDaddy, Hilton, IBM, Nike, the PETA Foundation, Samsung, and a number of other big companies have posted similar notices.

Colorado resident Aaron Batilo compiled a list of them at the website ColoradoExcluded.com. So far, it includes job postings by 98 companies.”

Why Is There Such A Gender Gap In COVID-19 Vaccination Rates?

“the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 9.5 million more women than men have been vaccinated in the U.S.,1 and in the 42 states2 that collect gender data, a greater share of women are getting the vaccine as well. The magnitude of the gender gap varies from state to state but has hovered just below 10 percentage points on average over the past month.”

“The simplest explanation for the vaccine gender gap is that women got a head start. Among older Americans, who had early access to the vaccine, women outnumber men”

“those early restrictions on who could get the vaccine are gone now. The numbers remain imbalanced, however, so other factors must be contributing to the disparity as well.”

“COVID-19 isn’t the only health matter that men are less likely to be proactive about. Compared with women, they tend to see a doctor less often and use harmful substances like alcohol and illicit drugs more often; men also tend to eat less fiber and fruit, and they are even less likely to use sunscreen when compared to women. According to Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, men’s shorter lifespans are the result of the cumulative effects of poor health decisions, not physiology. “There’s no real biological reason that men die earlier,” said Metzl. “The things that make you a successful, cool, tough man in America are also inversely related to health and longevity.”
Researchers are nearly unanimous in their assertion that traditional masculinity — the idea that men should be self-reliant, physically tough and emotionally stoic — is a risk factor for men’s health. James Mahalik, an expert on masculinity and health outcomes at Boston College, studies how traditional masculinity gets in the way of health-promoting behaviors. His lab’s research on mask-wearing indicates that men who conform to traditional masculine norms have lower levels of empathy toward people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, and they are less likely to trust the scientific community. Mahalik suspects the same is true for their views about the vaccine.”

“women are typically held responsible for the health of others in ways that men are not: “Women know that if members of their family become sick, they’re the ones who will be responsible for caregiving.” Although vaccine distributors don’t track the gender of people who schedule vaccine appointments for family members, sociologists are concerned that women are taking on the brunt of this work — an extension of what has been called women’s “second shift.” Women’s greater responsibility for maintaining not just their own health but the health of others makes Reich suspect that women are more likely to be in contact with health services and seek out health-related information. Social expectations that women care for others and vigilantly monitor their reproductive health demand it of them.”

“gender differences in susceptibility to COVID-19 misinformation: Early in the pandemic, men — particularly those who identified as conservatives — were more likely than women to subscribe to COVID-19 conspiracy theories.”

How ‘Cancel Culture’ Became An Issue For Young Republicans

“it’s Republicans under the age of 45 who are really concerned about “cancel culture.”

One in 4 Republicans between the ages of 18 and 44 listed it as a top concern, compared to just 1 percent of Democrats in this same age group, according to a recent YouGov Blue poll.1 In fact, among younger Republicans, “cancel culture” ranked sixth in terms of overall importance, but for younger Democrats it ranked dead last.”

“the largest bloc of young Republicans (ages 18 to 29) are white men, according to a 2018 survey from Tuft University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which found that among young voters, white men were the only racial or gender group to align with the GOP in the midterms. This is important because polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, also from 2018, found that 43 percent of young white men (ages 15 to 24) think that discrimination against white people has become as big a problem as discrimination against Black people and other minority groups. In fact, almost half said in that poll that diversity efforts will harm white people.”

“one reason the right’s reactionary movement wields political power is that many of the tones underlying the debates over free speech on campuses are also playing out in conservative media outlets. Young Republicans are already more likely to be plugged into these outlets, like “The Ben Shapiro Show” and PragerU, making them the prime candidates to carry the“cancel culture” mantle.”

Does Anybody Really Want To Be Called Latinx?

“The irony is that the term Hispanic is inclusive and gender-neutral but, as the Pew study explains, it spurred “resistance” in the 1990s because “it embraced a strong connection with Spain.” However, its gender-specific and hence suddenly problematic replacement, Latino, hardly severs all connections with Spain, let alone with European imperialism.”

Performative masculinity is making American men sick

“Poll after poll, most recently a Gallup poll from July 13, has found American men are more likely to not wear masks compared to women. Specifically, the survey found that 34 percent of men compared to 54 percent of women responded they “always” wore a mask when outside their home and that 20 percent of men said they “never” wore a mask outside their home (compared to just 8 percent of women).”

“Glick and Reny echoed a sentiment that health experts I spoke to in July said: To get people to change behavior, masks have to become a socially accepted norm. Once people start accepting masks as normal behavior, like they do wearing seat belts and not smoking indoors, the number of people going against the norm decreases.
Getting to that tipping point is a lot easier said than done.”