A Surge in Pay Gap Conversations

by Sarah on May 7, 2012 · 6 comments

Post image for A Surge in Pay Gap Conversations Over the past few weeks there has been many more conversations about what is commonly referred to as "Pay Gap." The pay gap is the perceived difference in pay between men and women in the work place. Typically this is presented as women earning 77 cents to every dollar men earn. The Pay Gap has now been added to the War on Women rhetoric used by both major political parties. Today, the Obama administration released a infographic called "The Life of Julia." It shows how the government will be making a woman named Julia's goals possible throughout her life. At age 23, the slide says:
Because of steps like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Julia is one of millions of women across the country who knows she'll always be able to stand up for her right to equal pay. She starts her career as a web designer.
However, many are arguing against the conclusions drawn in the Pay Gap discussion. Two NeW authors have both spoken against it recently. At the end of April, Kay Hymowitz (author of Manning Up) wrote an article called "Why Women Make Less than Men". Hymowitz argues:
The main reason that women spend less time at work than men—and that women are unlikely to be the richer sex—is obvious: children. Today, childless 20-something women do earn more than their male peers. But most are likely to cut back their hours after they have kids, giving men the hours, and income, advantage.
And today, Carrie Lukas (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Sex, Women and Feminism) wrote an article entitled "'Paycheck Fairness' Will Mean a Paycut for Men" that spells out the potential problems with programs like the Paycheck Fairness Act:
Feminists have long wanted enlightened government officials, rather than the indifferent market, to determine salaries. Information collection and government-compensation guidelines today could easily become regulations and mandates tomorrow. Such meddling would be disastrous for the economy, but men particularly should be warned: Bureaucrats micromanaging compensation standards will mean many male workers should expect a pay cut.
With the conversation focusing so much on the Pay Gap, what do you as a NeW reader think? Let us know in the comments!  

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben May 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Women earn less for various of reason a lot of them are obvious to those who question.

Women work less hours then men, for various individual reasons, including children.

Women go into jobs that are less hazardous (physical, psychological, etc).

Women can opt out of work via pregnancy while being paid at the expense of the employer, and then get reinstated into her previous position or better.

Women less likely to go into professions that are hard science and/or technical fields related which tend to have increased pay.

Women less likely to go into fields where physical labor is paramount.

I could go on.

Mr. Farrell talks about it more here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb_6v-JQ13Q
He starts at 7:00 after a lengthy introduction. It has several videos for those interested.


Josh May 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Is there any evidence that women who do the same jobs as men (same duties, same hours, same industry, same geographical area, etc.) make less? It seems as if all the statistics used to support the claim of unequal pay don’t make exact comparisons.


Shannon McGuire May 11, 2012 at 12:11 am

Christina Hoff Sommers discusses pay disparities in her New York Times opinion editorial “Fair Pay Isn’t Always Equal Pay.” She cites the Labor Department’s findings that the pay gap “may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

She went on to say that the Paycheck Fairness Bill “could prove a legal nightmare for even the best-intentioned employers…The Paycheck Fairness bill would set women against men, empower trial lawyers and activists, perpetuate falsehoods about the status of women in the workplace and create havoc in a precarious job market.”

We have seen similar legislation in the past such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which aimed to increase employment of disabled workers, but actually led to a drop in employment from 51% before the legislation to 32% afterwards due to employers fearing expensive lawsuits. Frivolous lawsuits are a big economic issue here in Florida — they’re killing business and keeping possible new businesses from moving here.

Single women are now making up to 8% more than their single counterparts, yet after having children, women often stay home longer and work less than their partners. They CHOOSE this. Kay Hymowitz’s article went into even more detail that countries that attempt to balance the hours spent working by men and women see women still staying home more than men, and these women are happy. Here in the U.S., more men now than ever are staying home with their children.

And for those who still believe women make $.33 lower than men or have personal experiences with discrimination, I like what Gretchen Hamel had to say in her article “The Truth About the War on Women”: “Regarding economic inequality, the president proposed new legislation to close the gap on women earning 77 cents on every dollar a man earns. This issue can’t simply be changed by a law or more regulation; it has to be changed by the culture, a culture that values a woman’s opinions, decisions and leadership as much as a man’s. We don’t want a regulated job, we want respect. I don’t want a job or a CEO position because it was regulated for a female, and nor should any other woman.”

Gender roles are constantly fluctuating without the government’s interference. Do we really need more legislation that could potential harm American prosperity in efforts to solve a problem that may not exist?


Sarah May 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Well put, Shannon!


Josh May 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Well put indeed.


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