Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The gender wage gap is a myth

Activists have dubbed today "Equal Pay Day" in reference to the idea that discrimination causes employers female workers to receive less pay for the same labor. It's usually presented in the form of "women make 75 to 80 cents for every dollar men make."

This is a myth, and a painfully transparent one. It can not survive slightest prodding or even a casual investigation.

The crude or "raw" gender wage gap is calculated with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data by comparing hourly income of all full-time employees - those who work 35 hours or more per week. The advocates compares these results and assume discrimination causes the gap.

But this raw number does not control for tenure, education, job title, flexibility, exposure to danger on the job, and hours worked per week. All of these factors impact wages.

From the 2009 Consad Research Corporation study for the Department of Labor:

This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct.

Sometimes the activists claim the wage gap is for the same work, but it is not. The adjusted gap is not politically convenient

I do not see anyone upset about the college degree wage gap, or the gender job fulfillment gap. Women tend to take jobs that are more flexible, fulfilling and as a result, pay less.

I have seen “controlled” comparisons branded about that compare male and female doctors, where the gap is as low as 90 cents on the dollar, and this is supposed to disprove my side's view.

Pause here and note that this new number is much less of a gap, and the authors are admitting the “dramatic gap” is dishonest. However, this new gap is based on a broad category. It compares ER surgeons who work 60+ hour weeks* (typically male) to pediatricians (mostly female, and a lot of them are part-time) “Doctor” is still a wide category and these studies fail to adjust for all factors.

Compensating differentials are also important here. Look up the gender of most on the job fatalities - at least 90 percent of the victims are men. Women tend to avoid dangerous work. They also avoid the extra pay that attracts workers to dangerous jobs.

Yet at the end of the day, women control 80 percent of consumer spending in America. Female workers have learned to make trade-offs to focus on having a better life instead of a larger paycheck - and they still end up with most of the wealth. We should be learning from female workers, not trying to save them from a problem that doesn't exist.


  1. Thank you for communicating clearly and agreeing with me.

  2. Also, this:


  3. Thank you. Perhaps you should have embedded the link to disguise that it came from "Ms. Magazine," not the most unbiased source. This is why I didn't link the Carrie Lukas piece from the WSJ yesterday saying discrimination can be completely written out. I wanted to keep politics out as much as possible.

    Regardless of the source, the claims should be looked at. If you read beyond the sub-heads and read the text, you will see a great divide - and a lot of facts that support my side. For example, women with children earn less than women without children. There is an unreasonable assumption over and over that any gap that correlates with some difference is caused by discrimination of that difference.

    There is not a single thing listed here that I didn't cover. I also saw the same author had a different post that listed 5 "myths" at the same time that made different points, and was even easier to disprove.

    Both posts claimed that the recession has been harder on women than men. Mark J. Perry knocks that one down with a graph.

    I find it odd that you're overlooking the same false victimhood and sloppy rush to judgement from internet feminists that you've had to deal with in the past.

  4. I want to talk about the dangerous job gap! I feel discriminated against! Where's the ALCU when you need them...

    Men are being forced into dangerous jobs! AHHH!

    I simply couldn't resist.