The other side of the gender inequality coin

Author: Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

Over recent years there has been a growing concern about ‘gender inequality’ (see for example the Workplace Gender Equality Agency) with claims that women are systematically paid less than men. Many of these claims are refutable – see for example the writings of Judith Sloan.

But there are other aspects of ‘inequality’ that are not generally raised by the WGEA and activists. That is: men pay more tax and receive less social security. Men live fewer years. And men are more likely to die violently.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

Take life expectancy. The most recent life tables show that a new born male can expect to live to 80.4 years, a female to 84.6 years – an additional 4.2 years. And, sadly, undertaking a sex change operation from a man to a woman will not add years to your life.

For those aged 65 (relevant to the discussion on social security below), men can expect to live another 19.6 years and women 22.3 years.

TAX PAYABLE

Using ATO data from 2015-16, we can see that there were 4.6 million net taxpayers who were female and 5.5 million net taxpayers who were male. There were 6.5 million females registered as taxpayers and 7 million males registered as taxpayers. (Note: net taxpayer here is a person who has paid more than $1 in tax during the financial year – it is quite different to the concept of a net financial contributor to society where we would have to subtract government payments received from the tax paid).

For the 4.6 million females who were net taxpayers, they paid an average of $13,672 in tax.

For the 5.5 million males who were net taxpayers, they paid an average of $22,281 in tax.

That is, the average male net taxpayer pays 63 per cent more tax than the average female net taxpayer.

SOCIAL SECURITY RECEIPTS

In 2017, there were 4.95 million male social security recipients and 6.9 million female social security recipients. In all major classes (according to DSS data), females received on average more than men: FBT, family, age pension, disability and carer.

But let’s just examine the age pension, for which the Baseline Valuation Report (30 June 2015) provides interesting data.

Last year there were 927,849 part rate age pension recipients and 1,538,990 full rate age pension recipients – a total of 2,466,839. Payments to those age 65 and above total $63.265 billion. The Baseline Valuation report estimated that the total future lifetime costs (as at June 2015) of the age pension for all Australians was $507 billion.

For those aged 65 (at June 2015), the average future lifetime costs of the age pension was $290,000. For men it was $240,000 and for women $325,000.

So the average female age pension recipient aged 65 can expect to receive 35 per cent more age pension than the same aged male age pension recipient.

INEQUALITY?

So there you have it. Women pay less tax, receive more social security and live longer. Is this important? Perhaps not, but it is another way to look at gender inequality to show that women are not always worse off than men. After all, how much is a few years of life worth?

I do get tired of the ‘inequality’ debate. After all there are so many ways in which it can be measured and can be more important that the rigid male / female divide.

Some people are more attractive than others, some will live longer, some will die peacefully in their sleep, others will die painfully over many years, some will be disabled, some will be more intelligent, others less intelligent. Some will inherit wealth, others won’t. Some are born in poor countries to poor families; others to rich families in rich countries. Some will enjoy richness and health for many years and then die horribly and painfully. Others will be modest but live satisfying and fulfilling lives.

This obsessive focus on inequality diverts attention from the most important part of society: allowing people to go about their lives, free from interference, free to speak their minds, trade, socialise, live and die.

No state apparatus can address the myriad of factors that drive difference, nor should they attempt the same. To focus on one – gender inequality of income – is to ignore far more pressing and important differences.

All this obsession does is to create neurosis, jealousy and victimhood. For those who by any reasonable measure are more privileged and enjoy higher living standards and longer lives than anyone else in history.

This article was originally published at Catallaxy Files.

Catallaxy Files

Catallaxy Files

The Catallaxy Files is Australia's leading libertarian and centre-right blog. Catallaxy’s current Editor-in-chief and administrator is Sinclair Davidson.
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