(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Friday, September 18, 2009

And Yes, You're Supposed to Just Take It

Can you believe that there's still discrimination in our commercial market? You'd think that after the social movements this country has been through, we would at least learn to keep our companies accountable when it comes to equality. It should be a basic policy to require the same payment policies of any customer.

It's gender discrimination from insurance companies to which I'm referring.

Google will tell you, one of the most basic criteria a company considers for car insurance is gender. They charge males, especially younger males, significantly higher rates than females. Their claim is that they base their policies on risk factors, and that statistically, males have more frequent motor accidents. If there's anything I learned in AP Statistics, it's that there are a million ways that statistics can be misleading, but for the sake of relevance, let's assume that this one is true. Companies are saying that statistics prove that men are more likely to have accidents, and therefore, file claims.

But as a close friend of mine says, "I am not a statistic".

The above quote is the perfect summary of equality. If you judge one person based on what people of their demographic category do, before knowing anything about the individual, you are discriminating. Period. What gives insurance companies the right to use gender bias when we don't allow businesses to discriminate?

Some people in Europe have caught on to this. One commission proposed to abolish sex discrimination by applying "gender nuetrality" to car insurance policies. (as shown here) Unfortunately, it was shot down by the British government. (as shown here) The deputy minister for women and equality said that "It actually didn't make sense to penalise safer women drivers by preventing insurance companies from differentiating on the basis of risk." I'm just a college student, but I don't understand how it's a hardship for women to pay the same insurance rates as men. I also don't think that any given female driver is safer than every male driver, so calling females "safer women drivers" isn't entirely accurate.

In one cell-phone usage study, Caucasians were shown to use cell phones less than four of the five other racial groups tested. Mind you, this is a statistic. Multiple studies have also proven that cell phone usage does not a safe driver make. So it makes sense to charge white people less for car insurance, right? Wrong! Of course no one would stand for such an injustice. We don't tolerate racism. So why are we tolerating sexism?

A friend of mine is a freshman in college. He has never had an accident or a speeding ticket. His record is completely clean. His junior cousin, however, has had a fender-bender AND at least one speeding ticket. Because she's female, she actually still pays less for car insurance than my friend.

Tell me, where is the justice in that?

(Feel free to comment.)

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