Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Re: 7 Things that would be better if Women ran them

This is a response to an opinion piece by the Daily Dot by Samantha Allen http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/things-better-if-women-ran-them/ Two other possible titles for this blog would be: What's stopping you?, or possibly What's Stopping Women?

I would encourage you to read her article first and then to return here.  Clicking the link above will open the article up in a new tab.  To summarize my point, there is nothing stopping Samantha Allen from doing all 7 things now, nor is there anything stopping any woman from entering the seven businesses she lists.  Let's go one by one.

Auto Repair Shops

Samantha Allen links to this article from Time as her source for her claim that women are often over charged at Mechanic shops.  These are the facts left out by Samantha Allen.  First the poll was exclusively male and female callers to various mechanics each asking for a price quote for a replacement radiator.  There were three groups of calls made.  Some who let on they knew the appropriate price (Which was $365), others were instructed to ask about an over inflated price and in both cases men and women got the same results.

Men and women who let on they knew the going rate for the radiator job were essentially quoted that price, and men and women who guessed an over inflated price were quoted an over inflated quote.  The only difference is when the callers said they had no clue what the charge would be.

"When men seemed clueless, they got better price quotes ($383), while women who seemingly had no knowledge of an appropriate charge were hit with a higher estimate ($406)."

What Samantha Allen leaves out is that when these same callers tried to negotiate for a better price, women fared much better.  To quote from Time again.

..."the Kellogg School study shows that women in particular have good reason to ask for a better deal. When callers asked the auto repair shops to lower the price quoted, 35% of women were successful, compared to just 25% of men. Researchers said that the “sizeable difference” couldn’t be explained simply due to women being quoted higher initial prices.What does account for the difference then? Because most auto shop employees were men, researchers said that chivalry is one explanation. “It may be that men are more likely because of social or cultural conditioning to respond positively to requests made by women,” they wrote." 

Now I am not going to pretend that many mechanics see women as clueless about cars, but this is NOT to say that they won't also over charge and oversell men who ARE clueless about cars.  The mechanic, male or female is in the business to make money and it is your responsibility as a consumer to know your cars maintainance schedule and what is the going rate for repairs.  Google is there for a reason.

Now you want to go to a female mechanic because you think she won't cheat you.  Trust me, just like her male counterparts, she makes money from overcharging and overselling.  However according to the Department of Labor 2009 (most recent data available) only 14 percent of mechanics are female.  This has nothing to do with a glass ceiling, it is simply that women don't enroll in trade schools where automotive mechanics are taught.  It is a tough job that involves heavy lifting and getting very dirty and often working in hot and cold temperatures as you are working in a garage.  However finding a female mechanic is as easy as a 10 second Google Search.

Best Buy and other computer service centers.

First we need to define our terms.  The Geek Squad is not the blue polo shirts clueless about washer and dryers.  They are the sales associates with basically a short amount of training and quite possibly this is their first job.  The Geek Squad is almost always dressed in white and stands at the geek squad station and does things such as computer repair, installation, home theater installation, setting up your wifi, and they do some appliance repair as well.   While I am not saying that there are NO Geek Squads in Blue Polo Shirts, they would not be on the sales floor as they have sales associates to do that.

Ok so you wish more women worked at Best Buy, well I was in a hardware store last week and most of the floor associates were women.  People have the right to hire who they want to hire.  I knew the type of tool I wanted to buy I just didn't know what section it was in.  The help I got was adequate.  Now were I in need of more serious help I would have sought out a locally owned hardware store.  Sure the prices would have been higher but I would have dealt with someone who really knew tools.

Now as far as the sales associate not having a clue about washers and dryers that is what you get when you shop at the big box stores.  Someone who really knows something about washers and dryers is not going to work minimum wage.  If you want an expert you shop at a small local store.  You go to the big box stores to save money, not their customer service.  With consumer reviews all available at our smart phones you can do all the research yourself.

The Geek Squad of course is more highly trained and thus better paid.  It is where I have gotten my computer work done, always been happy with them.  Just with auto repair, computer repair and other high tech stuff is not a field many women get into.  There is nothing stopping them, they just opt for different careers.  However once again with Google you can find a locally owned business that is run by women if you prefer.

Pizza Delivery

Here is the reason why you don't see many females in this business.  Now I will concede that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics over all the percentage of men and women who work nights is both around 30 percent of the total work force, however the change comes in the nature of the jobs.  While pizza driver wasn't listed you could infer the numbers based on other trades that involved driving and or outdoor work.   Delivering Pizzas also involves knowing the town, and a lot of stairs.  In the heat and in the cold.  It doesn't matter how much it is raining, the pizza must go up to the third floor of the apartment complex with no elevator.  It is this reason and the fact that they are doing the job in the evenings that not too many pizza drivers are female.

Now of course there are female pizza drivers and there is nothing wrong with requesting a female driver. (Fun fact, I called up the local Pizza Hut here and asked them.)  The only thing they said is that their female driver doesn't clock in for 2 more hours.  So I could wait two hours or call Papa John's or someone else.

Internet Message Boards

*bangs head against desk*

In your own post you mention Women.com as an invite only message board that is free of misogyny.  Well I hope it is successful.  Nobody is forcing you to go to Reddit.  Oh and by the way, sub reddits such as jailbait and other child porn threads were shut down by the moderators.  As a company interested in advertising revenue they know they can't have it on their site.  I will admit the moderators can be gun shy when taking threads down, it could be that they are working with the police or maybe they are just slow.  However, they do come down.  I likewise two years ago campaigned to have twitter take down a page about preteen girls, it took a few videos and about a year to pull off but they finally did the right thing.  Long story short, if you want to be the next Reddit, make a better product.  Anyone still remember Revver?

The Restaurant Industry

You cite only 6.3 of head chefs are women.  My findings are about the same from the Department of Labor. You ask where is the female version of Gordon Ramsay?  Ever read his biography?  He didn't become a TV star because he can cook and scream.  The man began cooking in his teen years and his restaurants currently have a total of 14 Michelin Stars (Yes the tire company rates restaurants and its stars are very coveted.  In addition Gordon himself is only one of three people to win 3 Catey awards (a prestigious award given to the hospitality industry).  The top chefs you see on TV live and breathe their craft and have put in years slaving away in someone else's kitchen before they are given the head chef title.  The same is true for your fine dining restaurants.  I once talked to a head chef at a Denny's, hardly a fine dining place.  Yet it took him several years to reach that position.

Does it really matter the gender of the person who cooks your food.  Chances are the head chef isn't even the one cooking your meal.  Any decent size restaurant will have more than one cook.  The head chef directs the other cooks and keeps the kitchen running smoothly.  Still if you insist on a female cook you have two options.  Go to a small restaurant that has a female chef you found on Google, or just ask your server to request that only female hands touch your food.


Ok I have to call shenanigans on this one.  I have flown and it is not a pleasant experience going through security.  However the pat downs are always done by men on me, I always opt out of the scans. The women always do the patdown on women.  This of course is due to the fact that gays and lesbians do not exist. Your bags are going to be inspected, you can request this to be done by a female.  I called the local airport and asked.  Of course you can rest assured you will NEVER be groped by a female TSA agent.

Literally everything.

It is at this point we have to ask, are you serious?  You want to walk outside and deal with only women? Well they have those places.  They are called convents.  Don't worry about the priest, he has taken a vow celibacy.  You want to boot up your computer and see only tweets from women?  Then quit following men on twitter!!!.  If someone tweets at you use the block button.  You want to use an app called SheTaxi because getting into a cab with a male driver is too traumatic for you?  I am at a loss for words.  Just like the pizza driver, most cab drivers are male.  The hours are long.  12 hour shifts when I did it.  Lots of stairs, helping people with luggage which required heavy lifting.  The women we did have all looked like Large Marge from Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Apparently you live in a world where no gays or lesbians exist.  Only hetrosexual men are in your world. You are afraid to get into a cab because the driver might talk to you.  He might even be attracted to you.  Oh noes.  Feel free to completely disregard the fact that cab drivers must pass criminal background checks, drug tests, and be finger printed before they can work.  (It is for this reason services like lyft and uber are being outlawed in many cities.)  Feel free to completely disregard the fact that in most major cites every cab ride is video recorded for your safety as well as the driver.  Feel free to completely disregard the possibility that a cab driver could have been falsely accused.  Even the smaller companies in smaller towns are seeing the value in video cameras.

You conclude your article with this.

'“It looks like you’re trying to use the Internet,” Clippy would say, “Would you like me to delete all the men?” Why yes, Clippy, I would.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that men don’t deserve jobs. I’m not even saying I don’t like men. But if the demand for a service like SheTaxi is any indication, masculinity can be toxic enough that women will literally pay to avoid it. When many women would rather use a specialapp to avoid men than climb into a taxicab with a male driver, maybe it’s time for men to figure out how to treat female customers like human beings before we SheTaxi every industry."

Go right ahead.  SheTaxi away.  When you put a gender ahead of making money you are dooming yourself to failure.  Just as you would if you were to start a company that catered only to men.  Even strip clubs allow women to enter as customers and that is about as male centered as you can get.  Guess what, they get in with no cover charge.  While only a few industries have proven successful focusing on one gender, fitness clubs come to mind, they will forever be a fringe on the market.  Curves (a chain of women only gyms) will never be as successful as the other fitness chains that cater to both genders.  Yet even in their profitability they are the exception and not the rule.

A smart business owner caters to the largest demographic possible.  They also hire the most qualified people they can find for the lowest pay they can pay them.  Those who put in years to get the certification and experience can and do command a higher price.  However, there are simply many jobs women will not do. I will leave you with the following video but before I do I will say this.  Just about every woman out there is able to function in a society of both genders.  Perhaps it is time for you to learn to do the same.

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