Bryan Caplan has a humorous example of gender inequality but doesn't mention the most likely explanation.
Tyler Cowenâ€™s Discover Your Inner Economist has a passage that beautifully illustrates a lesson my colleague Robin Hanson has been telling me for years. Hereâ€™s the passage:A Dr. Rangel, a well-known blogger and MD, offered this recipe for impressing a woman:Wine her, Dine her, Call her, Hug her, Support her, Hold her, Surprise her, Compliment her, Smile at her, Listen to her, Laugh with her, Cry with her, Romance her, Encourage her, Believe in her, Pray with her, Pray for her, Cuddle with her, Shop with her, Give her jewelry, Buy her flowers, Hold her hand, Write love letters to her, Go to the end of the Earth and back again for her.
Just imagine substituting â€œhimâ€ for â€œherâ€ in this passage, and telling women to do it. â€œI want to be his girlfriend, not his slaveâ€ would be a reasonable response.
What is Robinâ€™s lesson? Men take a lot of abuse in our society, but rarely complain about it. Why not? Because when men complain, they look weak and get mocked.
Despite appearances, women's behavior is quite rational from an evolutionary psychology perspective. Men are wired to spread their genes as broadly as possible, and women are wired to ensure that the few children they can bear over their lifetime come from strong genes. If women allowed cheap access to their genes they wouldn't be able to separate the low-quality men from the good ones.