Introduction - Feminism & the "Duluth" Model
Rebalancing the narrative
Over the years since 2016 when I started sporadically gathering evidence and updating these DV pages, it's become apparent to me that current public DV debate is dominated and seriously misinformed by a dated, deeply-flawed & often deliberately misleading feminist philosophy - the "Duluth model" - which claims DV is overwhelmingly caused by "patriarchal" men lacking respect for and aiming to control women victims – as reflected in Europe's ideological "Istanbul Convention" (which, ironically, Turkey has now rejected) and suggested by the following Western Australia government advert, which includes a men's so-called "helpline" that presumes they are the perpetrator (as does the "Men's Referral Service"). Of course this theory was not an unreasonable hypothesis in the early days of feminism, when a wife was practically treated as a husband's property and culture endorsed him keeping her in line, as in the following appalling 1950s coffee advert. But thankfully society has moved forward, and now the DV research accumulated over recent decades (see next page) simply doesn't support this patriarchal power theory.
In researching this area, I've been well aware of the possibility of bias in my information sources, and so have tried to track down the evidence for the commonly-publicised, feminist DV narrative (e.g. via White Ribbon & Our Watch web sites), but have found that it leads to an unsubstantiated dead end (for example see here). When you dig deep on their shonky "research" and biased articles, with one-sided, misleading or simply incorrect claims from the usual self-referencing suspects in feminist-dominated academia – who assert without evidence that masculinity is just a social construction, rather than biologically based – you find that any claimed links between DV and gender inequality or sexist attitudes in society are invariably based on multi-national or immigrant samples (commonly poor people from developing countries like Africa or India), which have little relevance to the views & behaviours of most men & boys within modern Western societies, and moreover there's no evidence that any correlations that are identified amount to causation (with little attention paid to other likely common factors like poverty).
The flawed Duluth model has even been undermined by one of its founders, Ellen Pence, who realised that the model was ultimately a product of confirmation bias & ideology rather than empirical research, saying,
“by determining that the need or desire for power was the motivating force behind battering, we created a conceptual framework that, in fact, did not fit the lived experience of many of the men and women we were working with… Eventually we realized that we were finding what we had already predetermined to find”
"we turned a blind eye to many women's use of violence, their drug use and alcoholism, and their often harsh and violent treatment of their own children."
(Pence, 1999, “Some Thoughts On Philosophy”).
However, Pence subsequently seems to make the same mistake twice, when she shifts again from acknowledging that men may not consciously seek power and control, to arguing that they feel entitled to it (which appears to be another total supposition about men's state of mind that ignores other possibilities such as a mutual battle for control).
This oversimplified & dishonest narrative of "patriarchal control", which has dominated public discussion, fails to recognise the many different types & underlying causes of violence, not least mental illness, substance abuse & childhood trauma, and consequently - after billions of dollars spent on useless campaigns - is not helping to reduce its incidence (but feminist-dominated policy that's devoid from reality continues unchanged). The distortion in public debate leads to distorted public policy, such as the relatively high funding for women's DV shelters compared to suicide prevention (see here) or other types of violence & abuse affecting men or children, or the introduction of paid DV leave or housing benefits (without requiring genuine evidence for such claims), which, since different people suffer different misfortunes, would be better & more fairly addressed by ensuring adequate sick/compassionate leave covers DV, mental health, court leave (e.g. to fight false accusations and to see your kids) etc., and a range of other potential misfortunes (some of which may lead to suicide).
A number of women writers, researchers & campaigners for men's rights have now disavowed feminism because of the widespread misandry (man-hating) in society and relentless male-bashing from extreme feminists who proudly tweet "Kill All Men" (& "I'm not joking") and write about hating men (which is not OK) or seem to think it's funny to sell books promoting contempt for men by advocating they be treated like dogs. This combative approach simply alienates men from the feminist cause, especially when combined with dishonest & cruel rejection of men's concerns, including through campaigns to block the public viewing of material focussed on men's issues, like the most revealing film, The Red Pill (see separate column), and even to end Father's Day (with this nice advert supporting Dads declared political & consequently blocked in 2017).
In this May 2019 speech at Cambridge University (which feminists tried to block), former feminist Elizabeth Hobson recounts the history of feminism, from early, anti-family, overt terrorist days to its modern, more insidious form of misandry. Janice Fiamengo similarly exposes feminism's misrepresentation of history, which distorts and demonizes patriarchy to promote hatred for men. Unfortunately it seems that as happens to so many good causes, the feminist movement has been taken over by extreme fanatics - always seeking to portray women as victims of the patriarchy, with former US senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even claiming that “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat”.
Yet while feminists apply a "gendered lens" to war (with false feminist gender ideology now even being given priority over effective military operations) – which men are often assumed to be responsible for – history shows European Queens were actually much more likely to send men to their deaths on the battlefield (perhaps because unlike Kings, they didn't have to lead the fight), thus contradicting the common view that "states led by women will be more peaceful than states led by men" and supporting that of peace activist & feminist Helena Swanwick, who in 1913 wrote in The Future of the Women’s Movement,
‘I wish to disclaim altogether the kind of assumption … in feminist talk of the present day... that men have been the barbarians... and women alone were civilised and civilising. There are no signs of this in literature or history.’
And although history's monarchs may not be a good representation of today's broad population, the suffragettes and other women at Swanwick's time seemed to reinforce her point as they used white feathers to send young men/boys to their deaths in war.
That said, the article on Swanwick does provide evidence that peace treaties are more effective when negotiations include women, whilst this research also indicates the few current female leaders around the world have been more caring and effective than male leaders in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic - perhaps because leaders tend to attract more extreme characters, which amplifies otherwise small typical gender differences amongst the broader population (see explanation of statistical extremes in the box here).
The Red Pill
"The Red Pill" (see this TED talk intro or the full film on Google Play, YouTube, Vimeo & iTunes) has won multiple awards and got positive reviews by some feminists but was unfairly attacked by others (causing some screenings to be blocked in Australia & Canada), including by mainstream Australian media, not least in an appallingly disrespectful 2017 interview on Channel 7's 'Sunrise' (see here) in which Andrew O'Keefe - an "ambassador" of the supposedly anti-DV organisation White Ribbon - arrogantly and most ironically "mansplained" to the former-feminist filmmaker, Cassie Jaye (who changed her position as a result of her research), with false accusations about her film that he didn't even bother to watch (despite being given the web link for it a month earlier, which he also lied about).
The self-serving White Ribbon (which hijacked International Men's Day to fund it's anti-male propaganda, despite having a 3/4 male board!) and similar Our Watch organisations have dominated DV debate in Australia for many years with highly-resourced but tokenistic publicity campaigns based on the false narrative of the Duluth model.
Even staunch feminists have concluded White Ribbon stinks, and in 2019 they "got so woke they went broke" (how sad, never mind!), but in 2020 White Ribbon was back spreading the same dishonest propaganda, though disowning O'Keefe in January 2021 after he was arrested & charged with domestic violence (presumed guilty before trial because we should always "believe women").
No doubt most people today who casually consider themselves as feminists simply believe in gender equality, but in the media, academia and other societal institutions of influence (especially related to DV policy), the movement is dominated by extremists (and increasingly so it seems) who adhere to a hardline philosophy that is reflected in views like these:
the socialization of men is such that even a good man – a supportive man, a respectful man, a trusted man – has within him the potential for violence and harm because these behaviors are normalized through patriarchy. And as such, we know that even the men that we love, never mind random men who we don’t know, have the potential to be dangerous. Surely, all people have that potential. But in a world divided into the oppressed and the oppressors, the former learn to fear the latter as a defense mechanism.
what makes (yes) all men potentially unsafe – what makes (yes) all men suspect in the eyes of feminism – is the normalized violating behaviors that they’ve learned, which they then perform uncritically. ...the only thing approaching defiance against this kind of violence is to constantly check and question your own learned entitlement.
Make no mistake: When you use the phrase “not all men” – or otherwise buy into the myth of it – you’re giving yourself and others a pass to continue performing the socially sanctioned violence of “masculinity” without consequence, whether or not that’s your intention.
it is true that all men are socialized under and benefit, to some degree, from patriarchy. We all learn that men deserve more than anyone else: more money, more resources, more opportunities, more respect, more acknowledgment, more success, more love. We all internalize that. To say that “not all men” do is absurd – because, quite simply, all people do. And all men are at least passively complicit in this patriarchal system that rewards male entitlement.
If you never unlearn the entitlement inherent in offering unsolicited compliments or talking over a woman, will you really stop there? One man expects a reward for good behavior, the next for unsolicited “compliments,” the next for street harassment. One man stays quiet about rape jokes, the next actively makes them, the next learns that if he commits rape, his friends will laugh it off.
The disconnect between broader society and these messages promoted by modern feminism seem evident from the UK's Fawcett Society 2016 report on sexual equality which found that although over 80% of people supported gender equality (strangely, 86% of men supported this for women compared to 81% of women wanting it for themselves), just 9% of women and 4% of men described themselves as a "feminist". Similarly, 2019 surveys showed only 1-in-6 Danes (16%) and 8% of Germans identify as feminists.
In reaction to feminism's relentless war on "toxic masculinity", 52-53% of UK Gen Z and Millennials in 2023 say society has gone so far in promoting women’s rights that it is discriminating against men, with 55% of all men having this opinion, compared to 41% of women, whilst half of American men and almost a third of women think that society “punishes men just for acting like men”, and over two thirds of American women do not describe themselves as feminist, because (according to half of these women) “feminists are too extreme” and “the current wave of feminism does not represent true feminism”. A quarter of these women also say that “feminists are anti-men".
In Australia, a 2018 survey indicated 19% of Australians identified as "feminist" (28% of women), 45% felt feminism had gone too far and 76% think men also suffer from sexism. But this didn't stop SBS broadcasting its preferred, predetermined & one-sided views about sexism, and after several years of intensive, one-sided feminist campaigning dominating public-political debate (especially following the "MeToo" movement ), a 2021 survey suggests about half of Australians (69% of women) now identify as feminist (with more doing so when it is simply defined as “someone who advocates and supports equal opportunities for women”).
Of most concern, people who question the radical feminist view that DV is all caused by "the patriarchy", society-wide cultural sexism or "gender norms and inequality" get threatened, attacked, abused & silenced, with even Erin Pizzey - the famous founder of modern DV shelters - getting disowned by feminists for recognising that the majority of women who came into her refuges were as violent or more violent than the men they had left (see also here). In 1974 she was ousted by feminists, who took over the refuges, as she received death threats for disputing that "men were the enemy" and for being committed to finding the root causes of DV (see her Honest-Ribbon web site, formerly also called White Ribbon, and watch this interview of Erin by Cassie Jaye for The Red Pill movie and this interview by actor Greg Ellis).
UK researcher Deborah Powney indicates in this interview that the feminist "DV industry" has formed a corrupt cartel that's actually funded by government to indoctrinate society with propaganda, and through this to lobby for support for itself from the government (which has "mistaken vested interests for expertise"), with these same lobbyists sitting on government committees that influence hundreds of millions of £ of funding to their own organisations, along with policies and laws (such as the UK 2021 Domestic Abuse Bill - see also this comprehensive critique of that Bill's draft Guidance) according to their ideological agenda (driven by patriarchal theory and the "Duluth" model). This influence extends to determining whether other organisations can be accredited to provide DV support services, which is of course subject to compliance with their feminist ideology. Funnily enough, no-one else gets accredited, and even the puny level of funding that is supposed to support male victims seems to be controlled and kept by women's organisations (see also here). Any opposing voice - even from women - is shouted down with vicious attacks and cries of "misogyny!". Reports of abusive women in DV organisations are not uncommon.
The situation is not so different in Australia, where a dominant feminist DV industry forced a counsellor out of his job for sharing an article on Facebook about women committing DV against men (an excellent article by Bettina Arndt, who then campaigned to support him) - which matched his practical observations over many years of counselling experience.
It's ironic that such serious undermining of free society through intolerance of other's views shows a lack of empathy - which is often the underlying cause of domestic violence - and also ironic that the most extreme feminists show stereotypical "unempathetic, aggressive male" behaviour, which may well be driven by the "internalised misogyny" they accuse other women of ("When you point the finger, three fingers point back at yourself") - perhaps because they're angry about not fitting in as a stereotypical female (e.g. if they have the rare "INTJ" personality type, or perhaps similarly, are somewhat autistic). It's also a betrayal of the left-of-politics commitment to equality, because how can you possibly say you support equality yet judge & label people and deny them that most basic equal right to express their opinion and be heard, because you don't like it? (as ironically but tactfully explained to members of The Project TV show, whose interview of Cassie Jaye showed a similar level of disrespect to Sunrise's).
Unfortunately it seems that the laudable left-wing concern for equality seems to almost inevitably require the creation of groups representing rich & poor, or oppressed & oppressors, which then leads to tribal/identity politics, fighting and disrespect for others based only on their group association - much the same ugly end-point as some on the "right-wing" seem to reach through a different path of extreme individualism & lack of compassion for others (as reflected by their apparently lower emotional intelligence).
Interestingly, these similarities of the two political extremes are recognised on the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), in a response to a hoax that got various absurd, fabricated academic papers on identity politics accepted for publication, including a re-write of Hitler’s Mein Kampf with language altered to reference feminism (the similarity in tactics is also noted in this article, which references several prominent feminists who have advocated killing men until they are reduced to less than 10% of the population). The WSWS writer refers to the academic architects of postmodernism (see following column) and identity politics as the “pseudo-left”, who occupy well-paid positions in academia and sit in the wealthiest 10% of American society, and - contrary to their claimed goals - push toxic, polarizing and self-serving culture wars that actually show a "hostility to equality with their opposition to rationalism, scientific analysis and the progressive gains of the Enlightenment". Ironically, the election of the sexist, narcissistic President Trump – with his blatant and consistent practice of selective facts, falsehoods and dismissal of everything contradictory to his agenda as "fake news" – can be seen as a reaction to and extreme replication of the insidious gaslighting tactics of postmodernist feminism.
Sadly, vile attacking responses to feminists from some Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) only inflame the gender wars and seem to have made the term "MRA" a dirty word - discouraging more balanced men & women from supporting the legitimate aspects of their cause. We need to stop shooting at each other from trenches and show some balanced consideration of all perspectives. I hope my thoughts & research here contribute to that.
And in adopting a focus here on men's issues, I should make it clear that whilst I oppose ideologies that systematically blame groups of other people for society's problems, I obviously support gender equality (supposedly the basic principle of feminism, which I supported until I did this research!), and I still think we need proactive measures to improve women's equality and to reduce discrimination, sexism and violence against women.
In the case of employment, I think some proactive measures are still required because organisations with a pre-existing non-diverse composition of people tend to develop a sub-conscious (or conscious) bias against any "outsiders", which results in biased recruitment processes and narrow-thinking organisations that reinforce 'group-think' (but targets should be used judiciously, not set as inflexible 50/50 expectations or quotas in all organisations - especially those needing strength & fitness, like the army, police or fire services).
Diversity is good for organisations as well as fair justice, but in many cases it needs to be proactively promoted to overcome this sub-conscious bias (because most people are narcissistic and prefer the company of others like themselves). I think this applies to all categories of people, whether based on gender, culture, ethnicity/race or whatever. But there is a grey area beyond which positive discrimination for one group becomes unfair discrimination against others - a line that seems to be crossed when parking areas are restricted to only women.
What is Postmodernism?
"Postmodernism" - which is strongly linked to feminism & Marxism - is an incredibly irrational, anti-scientific and subversive political philosophy developed in the 1960s & 70s (partly to salvage Marxist ideals as the Soviet Union was failing), which claims that because all perspectives and evidence are subjective (which is technically true), no single view can therefore be claimed as the objective truth of reality (thus indicating a philosophy of "radical skepticism") - which, on a pragmatic level is absurd, because it takes no account of the feasibility or relative probability of alternative perceptions. In practice, academics then use this argument to "justify" rejecting any evidence that contradicts their fixed ideology of class/identity-group power struggles, on the basis that evidence produced by an oppressive ruling order (especially the white patriarchy that dominates true science) is subjective and inherently biased.
Consequently, academics and activists who adhere to this philosophy seem to have no qualms about selecting only preferred "evidence" to support their preconceived political position, although this may not be obvious to casual readers of mainstream media, where they seek to mislead a wider audience into supporting their cause (e.g. see here). At the academic level, the usual approach is to bamboozle readers with pseudo-intellectual complexity / philosophical navel-gazing bollocks!
Nevertheless, a clear admission of this unscientific approach can be seen adjacent/above in the quotes from Dr Adrienne Barnett (who produced grossly biased "research" to mislead the UK Parliament into excluding parental alienation from the 2021 Domestic Abuse bill), as well as in this paper, which starts with the committed ideology of identity-group war and fixed policy positions (to curb porn and oppose prisons) before selecting favoured "evidence" - in particular to support their belief that porn promotes the sexual abuse of women (ignoring the strong evidence that the widespread availability of internet porn has substantially reduced sexual assaults and rapes):
"critical criminology can be summed up as perspectives that view the major sources of crime as the unequal class, race/ethnic and gender relations that control our society... Another feature all critical criminologists share is passionate opposition to prisons and other draconian means of social control. The primary policy goals are radical structural and cultural changes...
Critical criminology must be distinguished from other criminological discourses by its practice. If the advances suggested in this paper and elsewhere are to take root and assist in the formation of societies determined to curb porn, then it rests with critical criminologists to advance their models for change within practical political settings."
Papers like this (of which there are many), along with the suppression of work that offends feminists, make a mockery of the credibility supposedly bestowed by peer-reviewed academic publications, and give further reason to significantly reform and modernise the university system (especially those that support such nonsense).
Arguing that something is true while ignoring or denying people's experience and the preponderance of evidence that says it's not (or vice versa, as feminists do when they deny the existence of "parental alienation") is called "gaslighting", which is an insidious form of abuse. Not surprisingly, trying to argue with people who follow this postmodernist approach is like trying to argue with a narcissist, because instead of rationally discussing all evidence, they respond to inconvenient facts with baseless accusations that you support extreme, fabricated views (a "strawman" corresponding to their perceived group enemy) and other diversionary tactics such as personal attacks. Actually, I suspect many postmodernist proponents do have this personality disorder.
So is there anything good about postmodernism? Well, depending on your perspective (& there, I think, is the slight link to the political postmodernist movement), maybe some of the art - because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Patriarchy is in decline, and doesn't explain everything
In recent years, women have been making major progress towards equality in many organisations and industries - driven ultimately by the fundamental economic forces of the modern, knowledge-network economy, which women are better suited to than participating in & command of mass labour forces typical in old production & commodity/ heavy industries. And within only a few generations of this massive technological & economic change (an evolutionary blink-of-an-eye), the vast majority of young Western men have discarded millennia of cultural expectations about women's roles in society, thus further facilitating women's rapid progress (as articulated so positively in this TEDx talk).
For example, in 2018 Australian girls were outperforming boys at school whilst young Australian women (aged 25-29) were already much more likely to have a degree than men (45% vs 32%), with half of natural & physical science qualifications held by women and overall median graduate starting salaries basically equal, even in engineering. Naturally therefore, the NSW Department of Education decided in 2018 to "increase the number of women in (their) senior leadership roles from the current level of 53% to 60%". It seems no-one cares that boys have been doing badly in NSW schools for 30 years (or will do anything except blame them for "toxic masculinity"). Meanwhile, deliberate feminist-driven recruitment practices have resulted in women now dominating the Australian public service, and in turn, influencing public policy to have a bias towards women.
Likewise in the US, the college completion rate for men in 2010 was just 27%, compared to 36% for women, yet in 2019, 92% of sex-specific scholarships were still reserved for women, even though women made up 59% of college students and are earning the majority of associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, and boys are massively more likely (1.5 to 4x) to have major problems with learning disorders & school attendance, emotional disturbances, drug & alcohol abuse and suicide. Boys are now further behind girls in education than was the reverse case in 1972, and it's getting worse as traditional male jobs continue to decline, yet little is done to help boys and men get careers in the growth sectors of health, education, administration and literacy (HEAL), where they are typically a small minority, and in some cases, like teaching, a declining share of employees.
Similarly in the UK - where girls are also now well ahead of boys in university entries & initial salaries - attempts to understand & tackle the growing under-performance of boys in education have been made “taboo” by feminists. For a light-hearted exposé, watch "Jonathan Pie" being enlightened on such facts in his (fake) interview of a feminist (Melissa Stevens, author of "The Sex Delusion”).
Disadvantage for boy students is further compounded by biased teachers (both male & female) grading them more harshly than girls. A general societal bias towards perceived female disadvantage is also demonstrated by how people react to sex differences in aptitudes & behaviours, with both men & women being more negative about claimed male-favouring differences (e.g. men lying less).
However, whilst the scales have now clearly tipped in favour of females, these relatively recent changes haven't yet flowed through to average salaries across all ages. Girls educated in the late 1970s & 1980s (my generation – Gen X) are really the first to grow up expecting & pursuing full workplace equality, and they have only in the last decade to 2020 reached an age where they can reasonably expect to be leading industry & government - which is why the growth in number of women in executive roles accelerated over the decade to 2021 and the number on boards increased 60% over the 5 years to 2021, whilst the number of women on Australia's High Court went from zero to a majority from 2005 to 2022. So we need a more sophisticated discussion about the so-called 'gender pay-gap' than simply comparing raw average incomes, including, of course, accounting properly for different working hours...
The Patriarchy - not quite what it seems
To the extent "the patriarchy" still exists, it shouldn't be viewed simplistically as men choosing to dominate over women for men's benefit. It's a social structure which clearly derives from ancient times when a tribe's survival required young men to hunt & fight whilst women reared children at home. Far from being a social norm that men have invented to oppress women, patriarchy is substantially a chivalrous culture for protecting women, derived from evolutionary pressure.
Similarly, improvements in women's rights through the 20th century were fundamentally driven by technological & economic advances, rather than feminist campaigns alone. For example, the reduction in home workloads provided by the development of home appliances, along with universal school education that came with increased prosperity, enabled women to leave child-minding & home duties and become more productive in the paid workforce. Ultimately, women's increased role in modern society is due to overwhelming, technology-driven economic changes that have made women as valuable or more valuable in the workplace than at home. Similarly, the rise of women in sport in recent decades is substantially due to modern sports bras.
Modern feminists claim that women have suffered centuries of oppression from "the patriarchy", but ignore the sacrifices men have made throughout history. Do men complain about the "oppression" of the past, when our grandfathers were forced to go out and do hard labour in dangerous jobs down the pit or in unsafe factories, so as to support their wife and children in relative comfort at home? The history of humanity was difficult for everyone, except elite rulers.
Even campaigns for universal suffrage – won in the UK primarily by the peaceful suffragists, rather than the violent suffragettes – were as much a battle against ruling & land-owning classes by lower-class men – especially to get votes for soldiers in the UK & USA (i.e. driven by economic & national needs) – as they were a fight for women's inherent rights. From humanity's earliest days to most recent times, men have had a fighting/protective role in society, which as both feminists & men's rights groups point out, shows men also lose from a patriarchy that considers killing boys is a lesser evil than killing girls - demonstrating that the patriarchy's purpose was never to just benefit men. On the contrary, a deeper observation suggests human society has always been very gynocentric - focussed overwhelmingly on looking after women, who are needed in greater numbers than men to produce the next generation.
However, whilst evolution is a ruthless force of nature that's concerned only with survival (not maximising equity or happiness), and an aggressive patriarchy may have been a necessary evil in & before mediaeval times, it serves neither men nor women much good now, and actually males seem to have been slowly evolving to be more cooperative and gregarious for millennia (with associated genetic changes). Now I think modern humanity can do better than just survive, if we learn to understand, respect and love each other (and if we don't we may risk extinction through global war).
But this requires a nuanced view, not a "war on patriarchy", because even where they still exist, traditional patriarchal households are often not quite what they appear. In this interview of Dean Esmay for The Red Pill movie, Cassie Jaye quotes,
"The man may be the (notional) head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and it can turn the head",
on which Dean observes that most men are intuitively motivated to support their families and seem conditioned (by culture &/or genes) to protect women & give them what they want - largely because they care about "the group" and its survival (see my thoughts on masculinity here), and also related to that because, like women, they want to be loved, and make love.
In turn, women instinctively exploit men's concern for them by using "soft power", or as former feminist, Dr Warren Farrell (bestselling author of "Why Men Are The Way They Are", "The Myth of Male Power" and "The Boy Crisis") says,
“Men’s greatest weakness is their facade of strength, and women’s greatest strength is their facade of weakness”.
The "gender pay gap" is insignificant
In Australia the average pay-gap was claimed to be 14% in 2018-19, but this is based on contracted hours. Using ABS statistics of hours actually worked (Table 9, which includes unpaid overtime and so is more than contracted hours) and ABS average weekly cash wage data (Table 1 of download Data Cube 1), I find that on average, Australian men work about 9 hours per week more than women and earn about 10% more per hour in 2018. (NB. The true difference in hours may be greater, and the pay gap smaller, because these statistics seem to exclude the self-employed. Also this alternative calculation suggests men may actually earn 10% less than women on an hourly basis, but I don't think it's right as it relies on government pay-gap figures that seem not to have addressed the issue of actual working hours despite being questioned about it in the Senate on 18/2/19.) This 10% pay gap is still exaggerated though, because it is calculated as a mean value – rather than the median that is usually preferred for income data, since mean values are distorted by a relatively small number of highly paid men. Furthermore, the difference is almost certainly not due to sexism, but because higher paid, higher value jobs are invariably full time jobs, which provide a more efficient service to employers than multiple part-time workers – who are more likely to be women who choose to work part time whilst their children are young.
Moreover, despite the typically different career choices made in developed countries (see below), women in the US who have never been married and are without children earn 17% more than their male counterparts (after controlling for education, hours worked & age).
Similar outcomes are observed in Denmark, as shown in the following chart.
Also US surveys show an overwhelming majority of women believe their employers treat & pay men and women equally, and are just as pleased with their employment situation as men are.
In Australia, women’s workplace satisfaction is 14% higher than men’s.
Furthermore, whilst the higher paid working hours done by men is balanced by less housework than women, on average, Australian men and women work about the same total number of hours (even using the 7-hour difference in weekly housework hours claimed by HILDA, rather than the 5-hours average difference reported by the ABS for 2018, which is more than offset by the extra 9 weekly hours of paid employment actually worked by men and suggests that men work an average of 2-4 more paid & unpaid hours in total per week, or 2-5% more than women, which is probably within the margin of reporting errors). Research in the USA and other countries reveals similar patterns of equal total labour, yet all too often housework statistics are manipulated and distorted in their isolated presentation by feminists beating up on men.
Of course some men do less than women, e.g. when women are the main breadwinner (& some vice versa), but men also do more unpaid work for non-family members (see following ABS chart), so this deserves more nuanced research than a simple men-vs-women blame-game, with a recognition of innate gender differences & task preferences (including that some "work" - whether paid or at home with children - is positively enjoyed). Put simply, many households share the labour tasks according to what suits them, and then likewise share their joint wealth (see more below).
So if you're genuinely concerned about inequality, as I am, then it seems more important to focus on the much larger inequities in society that exist beyond stereotypical disadvantaged "identity groups" (including poor white boys struggling in schools), than to encourage divisive gender wars based on relatively small average differences. Just because you can identify and statistically separate males from females (usually, lol) doesn't mean that's the best way to look at poverty and inequality. Or as Jonathon Pie says, “This gender pay BS masks the real problem; it’s another example of how continually measuring equality through the prism of identity politics achieves £ψ©Є all! If you want to tackle inequality in all its forms, you have to start with the basics - money.”
In any case, for women who typically accumulate less retirement savings because they've chosen greater career sacrifices for unpaid child rearing & house duties (rather than due to societal bias & discrimination, as the media claim), what matters for a couple is the shared family wealth – especially given women often have most control over the spending of their combined wealth (see also the graphic below on US women, from here) – plus a reformed justice system to efficiently and fairly split assets if they separate. Currently in Australia, assets are split according to the specifics of each case, but typically 60/40 or even 70/30 in favour of women, in recognition of their greater career sacrifice for child rearing, although in some cases the currently dysfunctional court system may favour the more controlling partner (male or female), not because of sexism, but because the cost of extended, slow litigation processes may force the weaker party to concede ground prior to a court judgment (plus there has been a problem with some people failing to disclose assets - which is now being addressed). Overall, the impacts of a couple's assets being shared are illustrated in the following ATO chart, which shows how on average, women's superannuation catches up in their late 60s after their husband has been divorced or died before them (partly as men are more likely to suicide, and partly because men are generally less genetically resilient):
Men & women are (typically) different!
Average incomes differ due to men & women tending to prefer different life & career choices (& hobbies), not least of course with respect to parenting, where it's a greater challenge for women seeking to balance a career with having & looking after children, because besides the obvious biological functions of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, women's brains are naturally more inclined towards wanting to stay with their babies/infants – more so than typical men, who for most of human evolution had to go out and hunt – because if they weren't, humans would have gone extinct! This natural desire is reflected in women being "wired" to be more empathic and "agreeable", but unfortunately, women (& men) that are more "agreeable" (measured as a personality trait) are also less suited to bargaining for better-paid jobs, especially in the extremes at the top of the corporate world. Also women are more likely to be neurotic (e.g. anxious or depressed - see also here & here), which is also negatively correlated with income.
However, many fathers also face workplace barriers (like no mandatory paternity leave) to taking a more active role caring for their children as they'd like (fathers are now spending dramatically more time with their children than in the 1960s and nearly 40% of British fathers would like to spend more time with their families even if they earned less).
But these influences on careers are not simply a result of oppressive patriarchal culture; they're a function of biological reality thanks to millennia of evolution focussed on basic survival, which - like all other species - means simply living long enough to procreate and raise offspring until they can also do the same. Balancing a career with child rearing in your thirties and forties is a very modern problem, because for the vast majority of human history, you couldn't afford to risk having children so late, given the much greater risks to infant and your own early mortality, which is why it's actually natural for many boys and girls to become sexually active at age 14 or 15 and for teenage girls to seek pregnancy with an older man that can support them (just like the young teenage "Virgin Mary"). With this in mind, I had my eyes opened recently to my own and modern Western society's prejudices against teenage Mums, by a well-spoken young Mum at the launch of the 2017 Children's Rights Report. It got me thinking: it makes a lot of sense really, not least as they are having children at a more biologically optimal age than is typical these days, and then they have the rest of their life free for higher education and then a career they can throw themselves into without facing the dilemma and sacrifices from having to pause, compromise or abandon it to have children at a late age. So we ought to make it an easier option (rather than judging them), for example with the support of group/community parenting (which gay people may be well suited to). Besides, from my experience, having kids forces parents to become more selfless & grow up (otherwise, as a friend said, your head will explode!), so it seems better for everyone if we do that sooner, rather than waiting until later in life when we're more stuck in our selfish ways.
So contrary to claims of neuro-feminazis – who use absurd strawmen to try and deny biologically-based neuro sex differences (inconsistently with advocating the benefits of diversity from equal representation in organisations) – men & women's career & life choices are not controlled by "patriarchal" culture, because as the charts here show, men & women's brains, and consequently also their thinking, emotional psychology and behaviours, are biologically different (most obviously of course in relation to sexual attraction), apparently right down to the level of brain cell chemistry, and actually more so in the womb, before societal conditioning. Evolution – in particular male/female roles of hunting or gathering berries – has also resulted in men & women having a different field of vision – which is why men see dirt half as much, as well as their brains reacting differently to mess (and, I guess, may also explain why women prefer pink).
It seems feminists are reluctant to acknowledge that typical male-female brain differences are an inherent product of biology, because only by instead attributing different behaviours to men's choices/control and societal culture (patriarchy) can men be judged and blamed (for their "toxic masculinity"). It's the opposite of the recognition and respect for differences that's needed for greater understanding, acceptance and ultimately peace and love!
In any case, the debate about biological/genetic vs cultural influencing factors on typical gender differences is somewhat misplaced, because like genes, culture also develops and is used to reinforce species survival – through evolutionary-beneficial behaviours – and thus tends to be aligned with, and reinforcing of genetic drivers. Biology also influences typical gender characteristics, and consequently common culture & behaviours (or "memes"), which through evolutionary pressures then reinforce biological tendencies to make them a tribal characteristic. So these two categories of influences on gender differences are very much connected.
Notably though, despite there being significant overlaps in typical brain characteristics and the resulting personality & behaviours, differences in gender personalities are often larger in more gender-equal societies. Also, although boys and girls may have equal IQs on average (even though men's brains are about 10% bigger), their typical brain differences (such as connection patterns and amounts of grey matter) result in different skills and interests and also mean they tend to learn differently and therefore can benefit from different approaches to teaching.
Consistent with these biological differences, research shows women aren't necessarily worse at science than men, but they are typically better at languages (& reading faces or social interactions & other sensitivities generally), and thus more likely to choose a related career in humanities, whilst males are more likely to be better at science than languages, and so prefer the former. Hence the "gender STEM-gap" in more developed, gender-equal societies is not because women are discouraged from pursuing science, but rather because women have greater ability & opportunity to choose not to do science, according to their common preferences (despite girl-only STEM programs and a potential STEM bias in women's favour, and contrary to feminists blaming female employment-dissatisfaction on sexism without providing comparative statistics for men). On the other hand, women in less developed societies - with less equality & less generous social welfare - including those in former communist countries (with a long history of promoting equal contribution from women), have greater motivation to achieve financial autonomy by pursuing a better-paid STEM career (against their ideal preference) - resulting in more gender-balanced STEM participation (a smaller "gender STEM-gap"). Meanwhile in Australia, medical research funding is increasingly biased towards women over merit, even as women already receive the majority of funding.
Nevertheless, there may be still fair argument that the many people working in "caring industries" like health, aged care, child care and teaching - which are dominated by women - are not paid their full worth, especially as their pay tends to be set by funding from government rather than the market economy, but the best way to address that would be through increased and more-progressive taxes, and/or improved employee bargaining power (e.g. through unions &/or a Universal Basic Income), as I propose here, rather than through actively sex-discriminatory employment practices.
Further, a broader view of equality should also look at the bigger picture, including considering whether men are fully compensated for typically doing the less pleasant jobs (e.g. rubbish collection) and being 10 to 20 times more likely to suffer workplace deaths - accounting for 186 (95%) of the 194 Australian workplace fatalities in 2020. But what's most important is that individuals of each gender have equal opportunity to deviate from these average statistics. You can't make assumptions about any particular characteristic based only on a person's sex (e.g. for recruitment), because although a lot of people will tick a lot of boxes for the many characteristics that are typical for their sex, almost no-one will tick all these boxes (and many of us will tick some boxes from the opposite gender). Undoubtedly there are still some areas of employment where women are unfairly disadvantaged (& some where men are), but although white men may still dominate executive levels in the corporate world, as well as government & other influential societal institutions (as summarised here in 2018, but note the "middle age" comparison is obviously nonsense), this is rapidly changing, with women now representing over 30% of public company boards in Britain, Canada and Australia (the latter over 33% of the ASX200 in 2021, up from just 8% in 2008).
Moreover, even when top jobs are determined more by sexist "boys club" networks and self-promoting over-confident/narcissistic characteristics (which we mistake for competence in men), rather than by merit, this may not really be "patriarchal" in nature, because it seems there's also a girls club, which may be even more insular, and the enforcement of female board quotas in Norway failed to "trickle down" to lower-level women employees. So not surprisingly, inequity within the ambitious/greedy top 0.002% of the corporate world (that's roughly the % of all employees who are on company boards) says very little about who, if anyone, experiences privilege or disadvantage amongst the middle and lower-class masses of society (see the inset box about statistical extremes here).
At the bottom end of society it seems to be males who fare worst - e.g. suffering over 90% of workplace deaths (see graphic below) and representing the majority of homeless people, including three quarters of Australians in boarding/rooming houses (in 2011) and about two-thirds of those sleeping rough (almost halving life expectancy for those stuck this way for a decade). Yet the media & society show more concern for homeless women (consistently), so whilst males constituted 58% of Australia's homeless in 2016, 60% of people receiving Specialist Homelessness Services were female.
So as the modern economic-gender transition continues, there's still plenty to do to support women with parenting/childcare and employment opportunities and to combat sexism (whether intentional or unintentional), in order to ensure they have flexible & equal opportunities and respect in all areas of society (e.g. by addressing women's legitimate needs for suitable safety equipment, even though other complaints such as the size of phones seem to overplay the victim card).
However, it's also true that the changing culture of society is bringing major challenges to men & boys (who are no longer "best"), as reflected in the alarming levels of male suicide (analysed further here), which is substantially driven by a vicious cycle of problems originating from the negative impact of technological/economic changes on male working classes, who are losing their "competitive advantage" over women (but are still expected to bear the cost of chivalry & protection, which most men are still happy to do if it's appreciated). In the US, men's median wages declined in real terms over the two decades from 1990, and by 2022 roughly one-third of men were unemployed or out of the workforce, making them less attractive to increasingly well educated and professional working women (with the scales shifted in their favour, successful women in their late 30s who have been conditioned to think they can "have it all", are struggling with the realisation that there's not enough well-educated men left to marry). From 1960 to 2010, the proportion of US adults without a college degree who marry plummeted from some 70% to 45%, and in 2022 more men aged 18 to 34 live with their parents than with romantic partners, whilst the share of boys raised by single mothers doubled from 18% to 40% between 1980 and 2019. In turn, this dramatic increase in fatherlessness has had profoundly negative impacts on boys' self-esteem & expectations, which has contributed to their relative decline in school achievement noted above, along with broader adverse consequences for them & society overall (see discussion under "Parental Alienation"), including high rates of juvenile detention (five times higher than girls in the US), and further disadvantage as men in the justice system.
These worsening problems that men & boys are experiencing may explain a growing backlash from men and women to an increasingly biased, intolerant & misandric feminism that seems to be magnifying gender conflict in society (within media & culture and then more broadly in reality, although from the highest perspective this may partially reflect an uncertain & unstable societal transition period that is fostering a battle for control). To some extent, feminist politics & arguments about inequality may now be lagging the rapid societal changes occurring. For obvious reasons, most research on gender inequality has been biased (unintentionally or otherwise) towards measuring those aspects of life where women tend to be disadvantaged, but a new, more comprehensive approach actually finds that overall, men now get the short straw in many developed countries (unlike many developing countries, where this UN charity focuses, especially around Africa, India & the Middle East, where literacy levels for men are still often 20-30% higher than for women, for whom literacy rates may be as low as 35%).
We may still have a patriarchal society in some respects, but as Julia Gillard said about the disgusting, misogynous attacks she was subjected to,
"It doesn't explain everything, it doesn't explain nothing, it explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey."
And so too, the causes of violence are not as simple as the patriarchal society where men are always guilty and women are always victims, or other black-&-white false dichotomies (even though there may be some partial truth underlying that perspective). In this policy area, like most things in life, it's usually better to sit on the fence than rush to judge.
So with this context, my contributions on this website aim to provide a more complete and balanced picture of DV, including the "men's perspective" that has (apart from some rare exceptions) been missing from a highly imbalanced mainstream public debate (because it's not what some vested interests want to hear or acknowledge).
If the patriarchy is supposed to oppress women for all men's benefit, us guys have done a pretty lousy job of it: