Thomas Sowell

In later years, as women again began to have fewer children, they rose again in higher education and in the professions, though it was often some years before they regained the position they had achieved decades earlier. But now their rise was accompanied by a drumbeat of feminist propaganda, loudly claiming credit.

Yet the role of motherhood in explaining male-female differences is far more readily demonstrated. Data from more than 30 years ago show that women who remained unmarried and worked continuously from high school into their thirties earned higher incomes than men of the same description.

What about the rise of women's income relative to that of men after the 1960s? Surely that must have been due to the feminist movement or to affirmative action, no? No!

What the hard data show is that more women began working full time, both absolutely and relative to men. Obviously, full-time workers get paid more than part-time workers.

Among those women who worked full-time and year around, their income as a percentage of the income of men of the same description showed no real trend throughout the 1960s and 1970s, despite all the hoopla about the feminist movement and affirmative action.

The income of women who worked full-time and year around began an upward trend relative to the income of men in the 1980s -- during the Reagan administration, which is not when most feminists would claim to have had their biggest impact.

How do the feminists explain away all this earlier history of women's progress? They don't. They ignore it. By the simple expedient of tracing women's progress only since the 1960s, the fraud is protected from contact with inconvenient facts.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate