Myth: Domestic violence is used by men as a means of patriarchal control;
battering is so common that it is the leading cause of injury to women in
Fact: The majority of reliable studies show that both men and women use
violence toward their partners and that much domestic violence is mutual;
while women are more likely to be injured, victims of both sexes can suffer
serious consequences. Hospital statistics show that as a cause of injury
to women, domestic abuse ranks far behind car crashes and household
Myth: A sexualized atmosphere creates a hostile work environment for women.
Unwanted sexual attention on the job is sex discrimination and must be
addressed through legal measures.
Fact: In most cases, sexual dynamics in the workplace are complex and
subtle. Strict laws and policies intended to eradicate all unwanted sexual
attention in the workplace end up also targeting consensual flirting and
banter and penalizing trivial misdeeds that could be resolved far more
effectively on a personal level.
Myth: The courts treat crimes against women, particularly sexual assault
and domestic violence, as "second-class" crimes.
Fact: Charges of sexual assault/rape end in conviction about as often as
charges of robbery and more often than charges of aggravated assault (which
usually involves male victims). Also, assault charges are less likely to
be dismissed when the victim is the defendant's wife or girlfriend. Some
laws and policies intended to protect female victims have been applied in
ways that egregiously violate the rights of accused men and sometimes
backfire on women as well.
Myth: Two-paycheck couples have are less healthy families and are not good
Fact: Most two-paycheck couples make adjustments and compromises to balance
career and family. Most studies find that children in two-parent,
two-earner households get as much parental time as children with
stay-at-home mothers and that mothers' employment has no negative effect on
Myth: Working mothers bear more than their fair share of child care and
household responsibilities because men don't want to pitch in.
Fact: Many mothers admit that they don't want fathers to be equal parents
because it threatens their self-image; a mother who claims that she wants
the father's involvement may subtly sabotage his participation.
Myth: Medicine has neglected women's needs.
Fact: In the late 1980s, 14 percent of National Institutes for Health
research funding was going to women's health projects; 7 percent of the
funding was going to male-specific health projects and the rest to diseases
that afflict both sexes. While women have been underrepresented in some
clinical trials, there is no evidence that this has had a negative effect
on women's health.
Myth: The liberalization of divorce laws and the loosening of social
strictures against divorce have hurt women by making it easy for
irresponsbible men to abandon their families.
Fact: Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by wives. Research shows that
the psychological and possibly even economic consequences of divorce are
worse for men than for women.
Myth: The courts are biased against women, particularly working mothers, in
divorce cases; when fathers seek custody they usually win.
Fact: According to surveys, women feel more in control of the divorce
process than men and are far more likely to get the child custody
arrangements they wanted. When fathers get custody it is usually with the
mother's consent. Career women who have lost custody have been judged by
the same standards as traditional fathers.
Myth: Women and men are fundamentally different; they have different goals
and priorities in life.
Fact: In most areas, individual variability is far greater than differences
between men and women. While many traits appear to be unevenly distributed
between the sexes, many women possess traits that are more common in men,
and vice versa.
Myth: The fact that women are still underrepresented in some spheres of
activity and overrepresented in others proves that sex discrimination
Fact: The male-female ratio in any given field reflects many factors,
including ability and personal preference. While individual choices are
often influenced by cultural pressures and evolve over time, even in a
non-sexist society more women may be found in some occupations and more men