Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Debunking Myths? Or creating them?

The Washington Post (via MSNBC) discusses a study which "debunks" the myth that one gender has it better than the other in the US. The study funded by the Foundation for Child Development using child welfare indicies developed by Kenneth Land of Duke University

(I would like to make a side note here and say how amazingly unreadable the information I've found on this is and that I'm sifting through it to see what I can see, but it is agonizing, I will post more detail later. The study itself isn't online yet.)

The Washington Post article has good quotes if you read the entire article. Boiling down all of the different aspects of child welfare to one number can severely skew any data simply by the different numbers that go into any given indicator. Like a survey this data is based on the judgement of a group of individuals and so some information will be lost in the attempt to make it an easy to use index. There could be very significant racial differences, or differences due to population density but we can't see any of this because it has all been wrapped up into one number. Which is pretty, and neat, but almost everbody looks okay from 100 yards away.

Well overall everything is great, that's good, now what? This study could have completely glossed over the plight of one group by saying that "everything evens out" and so now any group that actually is hurting will have more trouble drawing attention to it because everyone can site this study an prove how rosy everything is. I do think that it is about time people stopped trying to out victim the other side and find ways to help everyone regarldess of whose life is worse. (Reminds me of highschool "I have so much homework'" "NO you don't I have AP AND Calculus!" Wah) But that doesn't mean we should make it so easy for ourselves and sum everything up into a neat little package of pure joy. Chances are if things look rosy you are missing something.

But I especially like the last quote in the MSNBC article from David Sadker

"We all know the guys are going on to make more money."

No headline award yet. Maybe tomorrow.

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