Alright, let's look at incentives. Why should companies hire women who will get pregnant and ask for time off? Why should they pay comparable wages? Companies haven't had the best track record for civil rights or women's rights.
Two problems with this. First, all wage relationships are voluntary negotiations. If you didn't believe you benefited more by accepting this lower pay and getting the job you wouldn't take it. And if enough women decided they wouldn't accept the pay difference then companies wouldn't be able to maintain it. Second, wages are not the only for of compensation with a job. Giving paid maternity leave is a major benefit and it's based on actual physical differences not cultural ones. No man have ever given birth to my knowledge so this benefit can't accrue to men. But because you receive a benefit that has a real cost to the company providing it (your productive services are not available for that time and you are still paid as if they were, though it's a real cost even if the latter wasn't true) then the only way they can afford to hire you is at a lesser wage rate. If companies had to pay exactly the same amount and
provide maternity leave that would mean that once non-monetary benefits are accounted for women would be more
compensated than men.
Remember, if it's a real physical difference that's not sexism. It's sexist to say a woman is more emotional and that a woman will always lose to a man in sports. It's not sexist to say that women actually give birth to children and will need recovery time afterwards whereas men don't get pregnant. That's simply fact. Real sexism will be eliminated over time while acknowledgement of biological fact will persist as long as that remains the case.
Are governments just as culpable? Of course, but they are also working in system which for all its socialized programs, works under some of the basic principles of capitalism, which allow for free markets (and yes I know these free markets are regulated).
Don't think that has anything to do with my point. You certainly aren't showing that the free market causes
sexism/racism/classism. For that you need an actual mechanism. How did these traits arise on the market and then sustain themselves in the face of the contrary forces I mentioned? For government that answer is easy. Governments have throughout history played groups off each other and still do. If the people hate each other more than they hate the gang of thieves running the place, or better yet if the government can be seen as protectors against "lesser groups" or even as "promoters" of "oppressed groups," then that will distract from any failings of the state. Ultimately maintaining a divide is more important than who's on the winning or losing side and that's what modern governments are still doing.
Systematic or not you don't have to accept it for yourself. And the more people you can convince to stand with you the more you attack the system. Give me companies that demonstrate sexism and I'll not buy their products right along with you (though with the unequal pay you're going to need to demonstrate with each company that it a) is not based on women asking for less, and b) is definitively beyond the difference that the substantial benefit of maternity leave).
I welcome the government coming in and demanding that a company pays me equal to that of my male counterpart. I'm also ok with a government telling companies that they must give men paternity leave without penalty.
OK, so you are OK with people coming to the people giving you a job and saying "give the same wages to this women as the men or else" while ignoring that the difference may simply be because of the greater amount of benefits received because of maternity leave? And then you're fine with those same guys with guns demanding men get paternity leave without penalty. So what you're really saying is you're in favor of government wage controls. The basic economic problem is that this inherently must cause greater unemployment than would otherwise happen. If a company has to pay each unit of labor a greater amount than voluntary negotiation produces (whether in wages or benefits doesn't really matter) then the company will hire fewer people to compensate for the increased costs. Eating into profits definitely isn't an option in most industries where profit margins have already reached a low point and the remaining profits are not really profits but interest payments to the owners of the capital (without which capital would be withdrawn and sent into another company). For companies with high profit margins it's still a problem because what attracts capital to new industries and allows them to grow are those high profit margins. If they are decreased you will see less growth and thus less labor being hired. While the strength of the market might keep most people employed despite the depredations of government intervention, the amount of employment and growth will be lower than it otherwise would have been.
You have too much faith, and I believe Frederick Douglass, had too much faith that these entities will be subject to consumer demand, especially that of an oppressed group. As far as Stanton, she was a classist and a racist. While I appreciate her efforts to secure the vote for women, her policies and worldviews hurt many more women. I am not going to look to her for economic justice. There are much better feminist critiques of government intervention (though most feminist writings are not on the side of the free market either, not even anarchist feminists.)
I have faith these entities will want to make money and that those that don't will rapidly become economically irrelevant. The same amount of wealth produced by a black woman is as desired as the wealth produced by a white man. Without meeting the black woman's demands those wanting to get access to her wealth would have to resort to force, aka the government. Get rid of the government and force becomes too risky and expensive to practice on a consistent basis as you don't have a bunch of taxpayers to pay for it. Thus the only viable way remaining to access her productivity is to meet her demands.
Governments haven't been great at promoting equality, you're right. But they have made some progress. Trust me, I'm not happy with how some things have gone, but using the government compared to corporations is a strawman. Both are working within the confines of a racist, sexist, and classist society, both are run by irrational people.
I agree that corporations and governments are both often run by irrational people (though my point isn't simply about corporations but really any individual or group of individuals engaged in commerce while your arguments are to use government actions not simply against corporations but individuals as well). But having granted that, the market has a corrective for irrational actions, the system of profit and loss, while government does not. And even assuming for the moment that no such correction existed for the market, when an individual or even a corporation makes an irrational move it screws over far fewer people than when a government makes an irrational action. If one company is stupid I avoid that company. If my government is stupid not only is it almost impossible to avoid (especially given how tight immigration restrictions are worldwide) I actually have to pay for it to be done.
You're right nothing exists in a vacuum but I'd argue perpetuating race/gender/class divisions in favor of the formerly oppressed isn't a corrective but merely continues divides.
And not only shouldn't you wait for a company to give you human rights (or a government for that matter) but you actually can't. The word "rights" gets thrown around to mean almost anything nowadays. And when a word can mean anything it actually means nothing. There is, I would therefore argue, in fact only one right. And this right is granted to you by no one and cannot actually be given or taken away. That is the right of self-ownership. The only way that can be taken from you is by being killed. Above all else, you own yourself and control yourself (even if someone takes over your body your thoughts are your own and I'd say that if someone manages to take over your thoughts you are no longer even you and are effectively dead). This then implies a right to property as extensions to yourself (just as your body is an extension of yourself, you being your thought processes). Only the threat of violence, which is ultimately the threat to be killed if you refuse to do as instructed, can be credibly called an attack to your human right (and the associated rights that arise from it like free speech, etc). And the organization which does this the most consistently and effectively is government.
You are not being granted a right when the government forces someone to pay you more than voluntary negotiation would have produced. You are only attacking their basic self-ownership right through the threat of violence.
We have to have separate things because history, politics, and every facet of life in androcentric. Women need to have that sidebar in history books because what is taught in the mainstream is men's history.
I disagree vehemently and in fact I'd say one reason why women remain disproportionately marginal in "regular" history is because there is an entire separate section for them. Promoting women's history only creates historical segregation not a real appreciation of history. There is no "men's history" and "women's history." That is a fiction. Men and women were both always interacting and impacting each other on vast and profound levels and the only way to truly correct the problem of leaving women out of history is to integrate them into mainstream history. Sexism isn't defeated by focusing on women as the oppressed group (and often this actually takes a paternalistic form where in women's, or really any "minority", history women are viewed as passive victims rather than true actors, though I think many feminist historians might have begun to realize this by now). Instead sexism is defeated by not being sexist.
By telling history with everyone represented as humans together creating the world we live in, with often different challenges or ideas, but still together in one history.
There are women's issues because there are issues that affect me as a woman. Control over my body can be an economic one (more unwanted kids to poor families leads to a reliance on government subsidies), but more importantly it is about my body. By taking away, minimizing, or denying that reproductive health and freedom are best argued in broad, humanistic terms are just as sexist because it is silencing how the issue affects me as a woman.
You of course have a right to control your own body to the best of your ability, just as everyone else does and just as you and everyone else has the right to control their property to the best of their capability. That does not imply the right to the labor or property of others however. You have a right to buy birth control or have an abortion for instance as an extension of your self-ownership right. It would be wrong for someone to use violence to prevent that. But at the same time the pharmacist or doctor has a right to distribute their goods and services as they see fit as an extension of their self-ownership rights. It would be wrong to force them through violence to give you what you demand as much as it would be wrong to force you to not be able to purchase them in the first place. Equally, it's wrong for you to take the property of a third party to pay for those goods and services for the same reason. There is nothing in that argument that included anyone's gender and therefore the argument is not sexist. You could argue the person making the argument is secretly sexist (though proving that is not as easy as some make it out to be), but that would be an ad hominem and have nothing to do with the merit of the argument.
Ultimately, the issue I have is that ideas of "rights" that include positive rights really have no well-defined boundaries and can only be achieved through attacking the negative rights (which ultimately means attacking the self-ownership right of individuals). For example, welfare proponents argue people have the right to a certain standard of living that always seems to be changing and including things which would not have been possible to provide anyone just a couple centuries ago. It seems odd to me that a "right" that could only have come into existence relatively recently somehow trumps a right that is inherent in humanity's existence and has existed across all time and circumstances. Issues of women's "reproductive rights" that go beyond extensions of self-ownership (aka negative rights) fall into the same category.
Anyway, back to NASA and science research. All of us agree that having private companies join in on scientific research is a good thing. The more minds the better, but there is a place for government. They help take up the slack for issues that are too expensive for companies to see a benefit for, and for issues that are less attractive (like colon cancer).
Nothing I haven't already argued against in this thread.
I would be interested to see the Susan B Komen Foundation and other "public friendly" research foundations' expenses. I'm pretty sure a large chunk gets spent on marketing and appealing to that masses. This is a good thing sometimes too (and shows that your idea that people can shape markets) as seen when they pulled support from Planned Parenthood and they lost large amounts of funding themselves from angry constituents, but the other side of the coin is Chik-Fil-A, where people may hate the policies but will still continue to support them with their money.
Advertising increases information. Even inaccurate advertising does so as when people buy the product from inaccurate advertising they know not to trust the promises of the company or individual who made that advertisement in the future. There is nothing wrong with advertising that's not paid for through violence (aka taxes).
As for Chik-Fil-A, their anti-gay actions are ignored by most of the public because that company isn't really doing something concrete against gays. It's governments that maintain anti-gay marriage laws and it's not like Chik-Fil-A is refusing to serve openly gay couples or something. You'd probably see a lot more blowback against something like that which the company does
have control over. People know on some level that their stuff is basically a marketing stunt with no real impact on the issues. As acceptance of equality for GBLT people increases (as it has been rapidly) Chik-Fil-A's posturing will become ever more pointless and cost them money.
As long as you live in a community you will have to pay some sort of "price" for membership. In most large, modern societies that is a tax to pay for roads, schools, clean water and air, and other necessities. By living in a community you are signing onto a social contract. If you don't like this social contract (that may include taxes) you can find a place where you can evade these things, though you will also have to deny yourself access to other features of said society.
So if the "price" for membership in the United States was that all women had to marry by age 18 that would be legitimate because you could move? What if every country on the planet had the same rule and there was nowhere to go? Now let's say you just go off the grid. If you do get caught, I doubt a policeman will respect the fact that you simply decided to avoid the social contract regardless of whether you were interacting with those choosing to follow it. Now let's consider if you did want to interact with a person who hadn't left the rest of society. Say you wanted to sell that person something, and because you avoided using anything the government provides you don't pay the sales tax on it. If the government finds out, will they go after the person who broke the "social contract" they agreed to? No, they will go after you, sales taxes are always extracted from the seller not the payer. Governments don't recognize your right to secede from them (except to go to another government and not all government recognize that). This argument is ridiculous enough based on that but there are deeper ways it's flawed as well.
Contracts are considered illegitimate if the use of force is threatened to make them occur. This is called duress. Now above I showed how governments don't actually respect your right to not sign any social contract. This means you are under the threat of violence if you refuse to sign on. This means the contract was made with one party under duress and thus is null and void.
Beyond that, how did this contract get formed? Even if people today "silently" consent to the agreement how can we say such a sweeping contract giving the right of violence to one side was made through "silent" consent. For this one would have to consider the origins of government, and here social contract theory fails miserably. If there was a group of people who wanted protection from others attacking them and stealing their property, why on earth would they give their protectors the right to attack them and steal their property? That'd defeat the point of the contract in the first place! No they would offer payment for protection, and those who didn't pay wouldn't get protected when marauders attacked. A "contract" in which only one party has the power to use violence in case of breach (note that no government ever says there is a right of secession or rebellion, even the US government considers treason a capital offense regardless of the reasoning for the treason) is no contract but an imposition upon a weaker party.
Sorry if some of this is disjointed. I probably won't respond anymore either because my knowledge set is primarily based on things that would completely derail the conversation, more so than it already has been derailed.
I followed your thoughts pretty well I think! And I honestly don't consider this derailed really. In order to discuss whether NASA should get funding issues of economics and the very legitimacy of taxes is a legitimate part of the discussion.
OK maybe the racism/sexism thing is getting a bit derailed, but if you want to continue the discussion you could form a new thread.