Here's a new study currently being worked on about discrimination against women:
A recent study has found a new way to examine pay disparities between men and women: Comparing the salaries of transgender employees before and after their gender changes.
The study in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, an academic journal published by The Berkeley Electronic Press, found that while the average earnings for biological females who transitioned to male slightly increased after the transition, it fell by nearly a third for workers who went from male to female.
The research was based on interviews with 64 individuals employed before and after a gender transition with hormone therapy or surgery.
It should be interesting if the results are interpreted from the perspective of a scientist looking for patterns, not someone looking to prove a point. But can transitioning really be used to prove gender discrimination?
Right off the bat, if that study is meant to be quantitative in any way, it's seriously lacking in participants. Sixty-four trans men and women, all together, to compare pay and job discrimination differences between each group is hardly sufficient to make large claims. Especially considering differences in age, race, ethnicity, education level, nationality, ability, etc.
I can see the reason for a study like this. Some people say that gender discrimination happens because women are actually less qualified than men, that they don't push themselves as hard, etc. So why not find a group for which all external factors are controlled and compare?
What seems obvious to me is the blindness to cissexism, the privilege women born with women's bodies have in general compared to transwomen. While an employer may discriminate against women, a transwoman who doesn't pass 100% of the time is going to be treated differently.
The implication with this study, at least how it's presented in this article, is that transphobia doesn't exist, that its effects are negligible, or that transphobia works for transwomen the same way it works for transmen. None of which are true.
But the other half is that implication that transmen leave behind job discrimination when they transition to join the more privileged side of the patriarchy. But considering this story from earlier this week:
A teacher's gender reassignment surgery has caught the attention of some parents who want to know why the school district didn't notify them ahead of time about the change.
A music teacher at Foxboro Elementary School, who was formerly a woman, returned to school as a man at the beginning of the school year.
The teacher, who was not identified by KCRA 3, is now being addressed as "Mister."
Some parents told Travis Unified School District that they feel like their rights to know were violated.[...]
Parent Angela Weinzinger, who has three children at the school, said she has since transferred her children out of the class.
"I wasn't given the opportunity to make a choice on what I wanted to do with the situation," Weinzinger said.
So far, 23 students from 15 different families have transferred their children out of the music class and into a physical education class.
As Cara at Feminocracy puts it: "If you're going to be different you need to announce your intentions in advance so we can make time to shun you. Please."
The study's author says:
"I think the gap that we've found has to do with ideas about gender and how masculinity is valued in the workplace," said Kristen Schilt, a sociology professor at University of Chicago who conducted the study with New York University professor Matthew Wiswall.
All I can ask is that before Prof. Schilt's study gets published (in a book due out in 2010) that they interview that music teacher in California.