Based on the actual research, however, women would need to work only up until about brunch on New Year’s Day.
Liberals have been bleating for decades about some apocryphal pay gap, whereby full-time working women receive just 77 cents for every dollar men earn for the same work.
To help rectify this situation, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier to file a lawsuit alleging salary discrimination, as his first act in office.
In a desperate attempt to mobilize Democrats’ largest voting bloc before the 2014 midterm elections, Obama recently renewed his push to remedy the injustice of pay inequality by promising to go around Congress if it doesn’t act. On Tuesday he signed executive orders banning federal contractors from prohibiting workers from discussing their pay, and requesting pay statistics by gender from contractors.
Meanwhile, investigative journalists have documented that the Obama White House has paid its female staffers less than men for years. So according to liberal logic, Obama is either discriminating against women applying for prestigious positions or stiffing them in their paychecks.
As journalist Christina Hoff Summers and others have documented, women’s work habits and life circumstances differ from men’s in many ways that affect their earnings.
Women tend to major in subjects that lead to lower-paying jobs and to pick lower-paying careers. Women are more likely, for example, to become schoolteachers or nurses, whereas men are more likely to become college professors or doctors. Men are more likely to choose careers that involve difficult manual labor or dangerous work conditions, which yield extra compensation relative to safe desk jobs.
Women are more likely to interrupt their careers, often when they’re just taking off, to give birth and stay home to rear children. Many return to their jobs after sacrificing months or years’ worth of experience, networking, and resume-building opportunities.
Women are more likely to choose to work part-time, or to work fewer overtime hours, which compounds the experience gap and compromises their utility to employers.
Controlling for all of the above factors, the gender gap dwindles to 6.6 cents on the dollar. And in our litigious, politically correct era, the fact that there’s still any gender difference suggests that researchers simply haven’t pinned down the situational factors that explain away those final few cents—e.g., women’s less aggressive salary negotiating style, or control variables that classify a woman who majors in sociology and a man who majors in economics both as “social science” majors.
As even the U.S. Department of Labor admitted in a comprehensive study of the pay gap in 2009, “[T]he 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.” Is Obama unaware of his own Labor Department’s research on the pay gap?
Conservatives have been pointing out all of the above facts for years—but all to no avail. Brain-dead feminist Joan Walsh recently scolded Republicans for telling women to stop lying about the pay gap. Liberal reporter Dana Milbank sneered that Republicans can “kiss votes from women goodbye.” Birth control connoisseur and California State Senate candidate Sandra Fluke helpfully outlined all of the steps we can take to reduce the pay gap. (I don’t know about you, but when Sandra Fluke has something to say, I do absolutely nothing differently than if she hadn’t spoken.)
For liberals who don’t buy the economic data showing no discriminatory pay gap, tell me: If employers could get away with hiring women with the same skills and experience as men for a 23% discount, why wouldn’t they be snapping up women and giving them their male employees’ jobs? (They might even have to keep binders full of women!) The left regularly accuses heads of companies of selling unsafe products or gouging customers just to squeeze out a few more pennies per transaction. Are we to believe that these capitalist overlords haven’t noticed that they’re paying a 30% markup for male employees?
If it’s illegal to pay women less than men with the same qualifications for the same work, why don’t we see more gender discrimination lawsuits? Where are the thousands of women proving in courts of law that their bosses give them less money than equally qualified men doing the same work? Most heads of Human Resource Departments, which keep employee resumes, work requirements, and salary information, are women. Are female human resource managers jealously conspiring to cover up widespread gender discrimination?
Research shows that the pay gap is narrowest at the start of women’s careers and widens as they get older. So it’s unlikely that employers simply have an unfounded bias against women at all stages of their careers. In fact, U.S. Census data reveal that the pay gap is reversed when comparing single men and women in their twenties.
If women want the same pay as men, then they should enter high-paying, high-prestige, high-responsibility careers that require lots of overtime and no interruptions in work history for having babies or part-time schedules to care for children.
As Megan McArdle points out, the real pay gap is the one that results from the differences between women and men, and the divergent life choices they make. The left doesn’t want women to receive the same pay as men for equal work; they want women to receive the same pay as men for unequal work.
And these whining obfuscators whose appeals to social justice belie their assumption that women can’t compete on their own terms are the ones who call themselves feminists.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics
- Economics Professor: White House Holds Itself to a Different Standard on Gender Pay Equity (theblaze.com)
- Obama to take executive action on equal pay rules (wcnc.com)
- Senate Republicans block Obama-backed pay equity bill (reuters.com)
- ‘Gender Gap’ Fraud Backfires on Obama (canadafreepress.com)
- GOP Continues to Be Tone Deaf on Women’s Issues and Equal Pay (usnews.com)