Much ado over equality

I REFER to the article ''Will blinkers come off in sex equality debate?'' (South China Morning Post, August 10). I feel the blinkers are entirely on the women's group lobbyists quoted.

The amount that women are paid in a free country is determined in the same way as for men, by the marketplace. If women are paid less, it is because they are perceived as being less valuable employees, for whatever reasons.

This may sometimes be because they are likely to stop and have children, which seriously interrupts their work contribution and may generate additional salary costs, or force the employer to keep the job open against his or her will, due to misguided andunjust legislation.

Other reasons for lower pay include: ''poor child-care facilities and the predisposition of women to train in arts-related subjects rather than science-related fields,'' as expressed by Ms Wu of the Legco Sub-Committee.

So what are we, the tax payers, supposed to do about this? Are we to subsidise women who experience discrimination because they have freely chosen the wrong subjects to study? Hong Kong's prosperity is based on capitalism, the only fair system, which allocates resources and jobs blindly according to ability and punishes those who discriminate unwisely, including those who pay more for men than women of equal ability.

If our society abandons the rationality of capitalism, and terminates the civil rights of employers to chose their staff freely, by favouring women and abandoning the level playing field, we will all be punished like other countries that have espoused communistic policies.

The only way we can protect the enormous benefits of the free market is to keep government legislation from tampering with it.