Wednesday, March 10, 2010

International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the private car

No objectivist could seriously consider there is any room for debate on whether women should be treated equally under the law to men. Furthermore, it is clearly irrational for private individuals to treat the deeds, skills, experiences or opinions of women as being inferior to men, purely due to the presence of different genitalia.

Having said that, there are many cases where discrimination on the basis of sex IS rational, simple things like personal preferences as to the sex of a doctor for sensitive issues, or quite simply human sexuality. As long as such a selection is rational, there is no reason to oppose it.

However, this post isn't about that, it is about how technology and capitalism have benefited women. Of these, one of the most beneficial inventions has been the private car.

The car has allowed more women to have access to employment, as it enables access to jobs that are NOT located in central business districts (which typically are accessible by public transport), and provides flexibility to engage in part time work around tasks many mothers undertake (such as the school run and grocery shopping).

Alan Pisarski notes that in the USA, the number of women with driving licences is approaching that of men, a trend which is not the case in many other countries. This access to personal mobility has been critical in women being able to access more and better opportunities for employment and business, as well as social opportunities. The presence of a second car in homes has particularly added to this, and that has been due to the ever declining real cost of purchasing and owning a car.

In most cases, it is quicker, cheaper and more convenient for women to access employment by car. This trend is unlikely to be reversed by the wishful thinking of supporters of coercively funded collectivised transport, which obviously has a role in assisting with people's mobility, but cannot ever replicate the flexibility that the car offers. It is that flexibility that has contributed towards expanding the horizons of opportunities for women.

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