Monday, February 3, 2014

Women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns

It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die—and president deployed it during the State of the Union—but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.
President Obama repeated the spurious gender wage gap statistic in his State of the Union address. “Today,” he said, “women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. (link)

My Comment: Please read the above article. This claim that women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes is repeated so often that most people probably believe it, yet as this article documents, if all other factors that are readily measurable are held constant the difference is only 5 cents. The other 5 cents is probably not due to discrimination but to factors that are not readily measurable.

Certainly there are women who are as devoted to their careers as men and work just as hard as men and are just as aggressive and competitive as men, but many women live a more balanced life than men and do not make their career the most important thing in their life.  When it comes to volunteering to work late, I would bet men do it more than women.  Men are more aggressive in seeking opportunities to advance their career. Men are generally greater risk takers and more competitive than women.

Women remain the primary care-giver of children, women generally care more about planning family holidays than men and women generally care more that the laundry is done and the house is clean.   When a child is sick, it is most often the mother who will take a day off from work to stay home with a sick child. If it was left up to men, we probably would have dirtier homes and lose contract with extended family. Some women will say, "well it shouldn't be that way. Men should pitch in and share the home and family responsibilities as much as women do."  Maybe they should, but I believe that women are by nature more nurturing and more relationship oriented. Mothers worry more about their sick children than men and are more sensitive to the needs of their children.  Certainly there are exceptions but I think it is undeniable that the maternal instinct is different than the paternal instinct.  Child birth and child rearing take a greater toll on the careers of women than men. If a person stays home to raise with child for the first two or three years of the child's life then they have lost those years advancing in their career.

Many women make less than men because they had different priorities and desires than men.  If they could afford it, I suspect many women would want to work even less and mother even more. Women should not feel less successful because they made different choices than their male counterparts. Raising good children is more important than making more money. Society should not feel shamed because the aggregate income of men and women are not the same. In 2014 it is not wrong and it is not an embarrassment.

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