The Myth of the Wage Gap

14
1935

The existence of a difference between the median earnings of men and women exists.

“In 2015 the median annual earnings in the United States for women and men working full time, year-round were $40,742 and $51, 212, respectively” according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Fortunately, and contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that women are being paid less than men for the same amount of work.

In “An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women,” a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2009, it reads:

“Although additional research in this area is clearly needed, 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. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

The multitude of factors includes the career choice differences between men and women. Men are statistically more likely to choose careers that are more dangerous, work in higher-paying fields, take jobs that require work on weekends according to cbsnews.com. These differences all work towards increasing that median earnings gap between men and women.

Marketwatch.com reports that “fewer women choose to major in engineering, chemistry, and physics. More choose to take English literature, communications, and gender studies.” These fields more often than not pay less than the sciences. Which would mean men statistically are choosing higher paying careers than women thus a comparison of apples to apples becomes much more tangy on one end.

Opponents would then point to the incalculable societal pressures that push women towards certain degrees but every moment this becomes less and less of a legitimate argument. “One 2010 study found that while women represented 11 percent and 12 percent of university tenure-track applicants in electrical engineering and physics, they received 32 percent and 20 percent of job offers. They were more likely than male applicants to get hired when they applied,” again according to Marketwatch.com.

What it all boils down to is that more individuals who are female put more importance on their personal lives over their careers than male individuals. That isn’t a judgment. It is merely a fact. When some of the factors (like education, college major, length of time in workplace, occupation) are accounted for the gap “narrows to the point of vanishing” according to Christina Hoff Sommers in an article published on huffingtonpost.com.

It is important to note that it doesn’t vanish completely. The AAUW reported that it becomes about 6.6 cents from the overly reported 23 cent gap. This will amount to a significant sum over the years but economists don’t have a consensus on where this difference comes from. “The AAUW notes that part of the new 6.6-cent wage-gap may be owed to women’s supposedly inferior negotiating skills — not unscrupulous employers,” writes Sommers.

The point is that the well-publicized “wage gap” is a misinterpretation of the numbers. Life is far more complex than people tend to portray it and immediately pointing at something and shouting sexism is to do a disservice to oneself.

14 COMMENTS

  1. While it is true that individual choices in careers (i.e. taking time off for maternity reasons) is likely to cause a disparity in what men and women earn, the idea that it has anything to do with what professions people choose can be refuted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf
    This data sheet clearly shows that regardless of profession, women have median weekly earnings less than those of men, which, as you say, may be due to individual career choices.

    • Thank you for additional point of view (that I agree with). But please don’t call maternity leave a career choice. I suggest talking to some pregnant women and watching live birth before thinking it is a choice to take time off after giving birth. It is a right denied to too many.

  2. Such poor evidence, ontop of being poorly written. Pick up a book– THERE ARE MANY BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT THESE ISSUES. Atleast try to learn the other side of the perspective instead of cherry picking your article from THE HUFFINGTON POST. You clearly had no interest in unbiased journalism, even if you’re writing an opinion piece you should look for better sources– there is an entire department at your school that studies these statistics.
    Learn what proficient sources for an argument are. Maybe search through the school’s robust library/online library?

  3. Dear Joseph,
    I would like to bring your attention to this quote from your article:
    “What it all boils down to is that more individuals who are female put more importance on their personal lives over their careers than male individuals. That isn’t a judgment. It is merely a fact.”
    NOPE. Not fact.
    Speaking as a female business owner let me tell you direct from the horse’s mouth that that is a sexist and incorrect stereotype. In fact it is the exact kind of stereotypes that keep young girls from pursuing fields that typically pay more (STEM , etc).
    I understand that you are a student and still learning so hopefully you will see this as a learning tool. The words you write can be opinion, but don’t pretend your opinion is fact, especially if you are not directly a victim of what you are writing about.

  4. It is very unfortunate that this has been published for so many reasons; first of all, it is a sexist article and does not help to bring about a change for good. Instead this biased personal rant encourages turning a blind eye to an injustice in our society. Also there are many errors in your attempt to have a logical train of thought; we can not statistically take middle class women and conpair their income to men. Unfortunately there are to many variables that would have to be taken into account to have the numbers you presented have any significance. Instead a better use of your time would be to explain why there are still women working the same job as men who are being paid a significantly smaller income. We have to take a male english teacher and compare it to a female english teacher. We can not just simply say “well a kindergarten teacher and a college professor are both teachers why are they not making the same income”. So I have made clear for your study to have any merit we need to have or sample set be a large range of people who are paired up with someone of the opposite gender and working the same exact job. When you do this you are going to find that even though females are doing the same work as a whole they are paid less. I feel saddened by this article because it is only going to add more fuel to the anger and frustration felt by those who suffer from this injustice. Also when you said, “What it all boils down to is that more individuals who are female put more importance on their personal lives over their careers than male individuals. That isn’t a judgment. It is merely a fact.” you simply sound ignerant to what a “fact” really is. There is no way of proving your statement and by definition that makes it not a fact. To make that kind of statement is not only an insult to females in saying that that do not take work as seriously as man but also an insult to men in saying that they do not take like outside of work as seriously as women. I feel as a man that this is more offensive because family, relationships, and life outside of work is what matters most. We should not live to work but instead work so that we might live.

  5. ^^^^ way to waste your time there brother. You could have spent your time helping the transgender community but you ranted instead. Smh.

  6. Jon do you ever want to feel like a man and support a family or are you happy being a cuck just so your wife can match you penny for penny come payday?

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