Gender Wage-Gap: Questionable Logic

An old friend recently tweeted an announcement from the Obama White House that women make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make. It’s tiresome to hear that when the real picture is far from simple, and in many areas, women now out-earn men.

It would be nice if, when talking about these things, we would not oversimplify. Unfortunately in the hyperpolarized politics of today, that often seems impossible.

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  • Sandi

    There are four possibilities that come to mind.

    1. The employer is not willing to pay them the same as men.
    2. Women do less work than men at the same job.
    3. Women ar willing to work for less than a man in the same job.
    4. There is little difference in the pay for men and women.

    I believe 1 is pretty much non-existent.

    As for 2 there are a few jobs that men can do better than women, however there are just as many jobs that women do better than men. This is rare and has little impact on the statistics.

    Number 3 is rare now, but used to be fairly common in decades past when fewer women were working. Those that did, worked for extra household luxuries. In the fifties when I grew up my mom worked in a factory that made TV tuners. She didn’t make much, but she was happy with a little extra money to buy extra things like our first TV. There were no men ( other than supervision ) but it was one of those assembly jobs that men don’t do as well as women ( the opposite of number 2 ).

    So 4 is true for the vast majority of the US population now.

  • Dean Esmay

    Tweet today:

    Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama

    FACT: By age 65, a typical woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime because of the earnings gap. #EqualPay

    [sigh] Sexist and misleading in almost too many ways to count. Obama you’re not making it easy for me to vote for you.

  • Classically Liberal Dave

    Nothing so clearly shows the flaws in the statistics behind the Democrats argument in this case as this quote from Fox News

    Of the five senators who participated in Wednesday’s press conference—Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.

    Read more:

  • Sandi

    Maybe my number 3 isn’t as rare as I assumed.

    A wage for services is pretty much an individual contract between employer and employee. The government is not a party to that contract as long an employer pays minimum wage or more.

    A woman applying for a job on Boxer’s staff can accept, decline, or ask for more. The same for any male looking for work. If women are less apt to be a t0ugh wage negotiator, it doesn’t fall to the government to step in.

  • Classically Liberal Dave

    If the secretarial positions are more likely filled by females, is that a bad thing? If a single mother who has to balance career and family chooses an 8 to 5 job, is that a bad thing? I think that is the type of thing that is fueling both the pay gap the five Senators are complaining about, and the pay gap for their employees.

  • Aziz Poonawalla
  • Sandi

    when you control for life-choices, women make 91 cents on the dollar relativeto men:


    I don’t doubt that a bit. However women work for 91 cents on the dollar by their own choices. It is pretty much controlled by the old saying “what the market will bear.”

    If men were willing to work for 9 cents less employers would certainly pay them 9 cents less.

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    i think you misunderstood what “controlled for life choices” meant.