Playing the Menstrual Cycle and PMS Spreads

by Mr Juggles

I can finally horse back ride without worryThe ads shown beside my communications in GMail seem wildly off-base far more often than they are relevant. Recently, the ad displayed was a link to MyMonthlyCycles™, offering “free personalized tools to track, monitor, and manage your monthly menstrual cycles!” That’s funny, I thought to myself, I don’t menstruate and — if I were to start — I can’t imagine why I would need to manage my cycles online.

Not two days later, while thumbing through The Atlantic, I saw an interesting short piece describing evidence that menstrual cycles (and the resulting sick days) can explain a portion of the male-female earnings gap.

[Two economists] found that women were more likely than men to miss work in twenty-eight-day cycles. When women turned forty-five, however, the male-female difference vanished…Overall, the study attributes 11.8 percent of the earnings gap between men and women, and 13.5 percent of the promotion gap, to menstruation-related absences.”
-Eve’s Curse, The Atlantic December 2006

Not two days later, I encountered an ad for Seasonique, one of a number of new birth control drugs that prevent women from having their period more than 4 times a year.

Personally, modifying a fundamental body function so drastically seems somewhat dangerous. However, it’s clear that with women managing their menstrual cycles online (always more efficient!) and having less periods (now, with less bleeding!), the gender wage gap will converge by up to 11.8%.

Recommendation: Go Long a basket of females with high PMS spreads (defined as [((PMS Attitude – Base Attitude) divided by Base Attitude) mulitplied by 100]). This will allow the most leverage to the theory of wage gap convergence; if you have concerns about the inherent volatility in any basket of female assets, you can hedge out your female exposure by simultaneously shorting a basket of females with low PMS spreads. This would be a pure bet on convergence without any exposure to the inherent insanity and latent irrationality of the asset class.

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