Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington are coordinating “A Day Without a Woman.”
Women are asked to not engage in paid or unpaid work, avoid spending any money (except at small, women- or minority-owned businesses), and wear red in solidarity.
But unfortunately, the policies supported by modern feminists have been particularly bad for young women. Consider two prominent examples.
Massive Loan Debt
Today, millennial women struggle with significant student loan debt and often have a hard time finding a job that will get them out of mom and dad’s basement. About 42 percent of women have more than $30,000 in student loan debt, compared than just 27 percent of men.
This could be a function of more women pursuing higher levels of learning. But significant student loan defaults among this group indicate that women may not be getting the return on investment they had hoped for.
Women are vastly overrepresented in majors that are known to have low returns on investment, such as gender studies or social work. Yet the feminist movement encourages more young women to pursue these degrees.
Their solution is to advocate further government assistance through policies such as free public college, loan forgiveness, and income-based repayment policies that drag out the life of a loan while doing nothing to put pressure on colleges to keep prices in check.
Warring Against the Mythical ‘Wage Gap’
One of modern feminism’s stated goals is to eliminate the perceived “wage gap.” The movement claims that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work, and that this discrepancy is due to rampant sexism in the workplace.
However, the “77 cent” statistic has been proven to be very misleading.
This figure is calculated simply by dividing the average salary of women by the average salary of men. However, when controlling for education, experience, hours worked, and other factors that would contribute to earnings, the wage gap virtually disappears.
Moreover, women sometimes choose to pursue less lucrative fields than men, or take time off work for family obligations.
Yet students at Georgetown University claimed to be “traumatized” after one of modern feminism’s greatest critics, Christina Hoff Sommers, delivered a talk about the “trigger warning” culture. Sommers frequently discusses how statistics on the gender gap or campus sexual assault can be misleading.
But instead of listening to facts, some women on college campuses meet new information with hostility and anger.
It does a disservice to young women on college campuses to hear that no matter how smart or driven they are, the world is stacked against them—particularly when wage data indicate that this simply is not the case. This encourages young women to see themselves as victims of a faceless adversary before they have even entered the workforce.
Advocating policies that force others to bear the consequences of one’s decisions, such as loan forgiveness, will not advance the position of women, many of whom don’t hold bachelor’s degrees (as is the case with many men), and all of whom see their taxes increase as a result.
A Sad Direction for Feminism
Feminism used to be about removing the barriers of opportunity for all women. Unfortunately, the ideology has taken a sharp departure from its roots.
Instead, modern feminism has become a lobbying group for liberal policies that do little to empower millennial women to climb the ladder of economic opportunity.
Events such as “A Day Without a Woman” don’t really help. Women on college campuses should reconsider whether or not modern feminism is really helping to advance their position and to pursue the hopes and dreams that they’ve established on their own terms.
If college campuses encourage young women to tune out the opinions of others who have differing viewpoints, refuse to hear other perspectives and new information, and advocate policies that disenfranchise conservative men and women alike, they will be remembered as a generation of women who put together good protests, but nothing else.
Commentary by Mary Clare Reim. Originally published at The Daily Signal.