(Update: thanks to some persuasive criticism from Free Thinking Atheist Females, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1558638774398805/ – I’ve decided to link directly to the studies mentioned below. Probably should have done so earlier, but anyway, they’re linked now. So enjoy!)
3rd Wave Feminists claim that women earn only 77% of what men earn for the “same work”, and that this wage inequality is yet another result of a male driven patriarchy that serves men and oppresses women.3rd Wavers say the darndest things!
The wage gap has been one of the mainstay arguments of feminist for a while now. It’s also one of the few arguments that I’ve always accepted, with a defeated shrug, probably like men do when they hear this, thinking “Okay, yea, that’s a problem then and needs to be fixed” – then proceed to stand there with nothing to say. In fact, the wage gap argument – in my experience – is usually the very first point that most feminist bring up whenever there’s an argument on women’s issues.
I’ve always just resigned myself to thinking they had a point… that was of course before I actually did the research.
To be clear, the “wage gap” is NOT the case of female employees being paid less per hour than male employees. For example if you asked a woman at Wal-Mart what she makes, then asked a man what he makes, they both make the same. This is true in every field and in every job, from managers to janitors. Feminist never actually claimed this was how it worked – but usually avoid explaining anything different in case someone does believe that’s how it works, which of course helps their agenda (which is to promote women at the expense of men).
The wage gap is actually the difference in income between a large demographic of men, and a large demographic of women, over a long period of time. Right off the bat, makes the whole thing sound a lot different, doesn’t it?
Now when measured this way, as it turns out, women actually DO earn an income that’s only 77% of what men make! So that raises an interesting question. Why?
Feminist will tell you it’s because men oppress women. Of course, feminist will *always* tell you that, no matter what. If you open a door for a woman – that’s insulting. If you let her open her own door – how dare you, I’m a woman.
But lets look at some real reasons.
Men get paid more because:
1. They are likely to choose jobs that are more dangerous. Military, loggers, fishers, police, and construction – these jobs are hard, dangerous (fatalities in the fishing industry are 60 times higher than the national average), and more likely to be chosen by men, who have been taught since they were children that their worth comes only from doing, and not from being (you’re emasculated if you don’t earn enough / you’re a bum if you don’t have a job / being a CEO is far better than being a good person, etc). In fact, fatal occupation injuries in the work force were nearly 6 times higher for men than for women in 2009:http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf (page 10).
2. They are more likely to aim for higher paying professions, since men are beset with the role of traditionally being a “provider”, and his attractiveness and self-worth are largely defined by how much he makes. What’s more, the law will often side with the woman in divorce cases (it’s usually men who have to pay alimony and child support). There are other reasons why men may be pressured to seek higher paying jobs and be unable to settle for less.
3. Adding to the previous two reasons, men are also more likely to take jobs that involvelonger hours, weekends, discomfort, and isolation, and not take as much time off work. Men are also far less likely to work part time than women (keep this one in mind, it comes up again later). Because if a woman is feeling tired, it’s ok if she lies down. If a man is feeling tired, he needs to be a man and just keep working. This is echoed in how certain organizations make rather obvious allowances for women – like the US army allowing different physical requirements for women, and even allows them to do knee pushups instead of regular pushups in physical fitness tests (even when events like the Miss Fitness Olympia competition very clearly demonstrate that women are capable of extreme high-end performance athletics involving one-armed pushups, handstand pushups, flips, split jumps, etc – yet women are still catered to and have a considerably different standard of expectations).
4. The wage gap is the exact opposite when we compare unmarried women who do not have children against men who fit the same description. When this is the case, women actually earn more. In fact, according to information from the Census Bureau, in 2008 young unmarried women earned 8% more than did men across the majority of US cities. In Atlanta, women earned a whopping 121% of what men did. According to the American Enterprise Institute: “An analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, commissioned by the Labor Department, found that the so-called wage gap is mostly, and perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make—different fields of study, different professions, different balances between home and work”. You can find a compilation of those studies here.
5. Women business owners typically make less than half of what male business owners make. Now, why is that? Think about it for a moment. These are business owners, so there’s no male privilege patriarchy evil spy working in the payroll department who sits at his computer and devilishly looks to the left and then to the right, twirling his mustache with an evil grin, just before secretly clicking his spreadsheet to reduce a woman’s salary just because she’s a woman (and somehow this is legal and happens everywhere and goes totally unnoticed – oh, except by feminist). So why do women business owners make less than men?
It might be partly be from attitudes like what we heard from feminist like Kate Bornstein in Gender Outlaw – that capitalism is all about greed, money, power, and male privilege.
Of course, capitalism is *actually* nothing more than a system of economics wherein profits are reinvested towards the means of production and distribution, to produce a greater supply towards an increasing demand. That’s it. That’s all capitalism is and nothing more. But if your view is that making a profit automatically = greed, then chances are, you’re going to end up making less than what your male counterparts make if they don’t buy into the same ideology.
I’m not saying all women think this way, but I am saying that in general, women are more likely to choose things other than purely making a profit – which is of course perfectly fine. There’s no fault at all if you run a gift shop with an emphasis on a work-life balance, store hours that fit your schedule, with a business model that focuses on personal comfort and spending time with your girlfriends. You’re free to do that. But you can’t turn around later and complain when someone else is making more than you. If making money was important (watch out – that’s greed!), then you’d be doing it.
But what about the research that says women are earning less than men?
One study published for the White House Council on Women and Girls has been quote mined by feminist, and states that women make less than men, yet surprisingly, this same report actually tells you some of the reasons why.
You can find the report here:
Some quotes from the report:
*** ”Yet, these gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009.”
^^^ So yes, we’ve heard that one before.
*** ” Women who live alone have the lowest median income of any type of household, including households with only a male who lives alone. Similarly, households headed by women with other relatives but no spouse also have lower income levels than households headed by men with other relatives but no spouse. Married-couple households have higher levels of household income relative to their non-married counterparts.”
^^^ Ok, so women definitely earn less it seems.
Lets keep going:
*** “Changes in household and family structure, including a rise in female householders (with and without children), also have contributed to higher poverty rates for women.”
^^^ I love the way this is worded. “Women being in charge is the cause for women being in poverty”. Of course if a man’s in poverty, we all yell at him to work harder. If a woman’s in poverty, well that’s just not fair!
Ok but lets keep going:
*** “Historically, women have been more likely to be poor than men. Poverty rates for unmarried female householders with children are particularly high, and have consistently been two or three times as high as overall male and female poverty rates since 1966.”
^^^ So we’ve pretty thoroughly established that women don’t make as much as men.
Although to this particular point, the report doesn’t mention how many women in this demographic may have been in poverty, but were receiving alimony, child support, state aid, charity, assistance from relatives and non-profits, and other sources of support, and compared that to men in poverty who were lucky enough to receive any support at all whatsoever.
Next, we get this incredibly strange U turn, and all these facts and figures start getting explained. On page 38, under Earnings and Contributions, we see the following:
*** “Despite the trends of recent decades, women remain less active in the labor market than men.”
*** “The labor force participation rate of adult women (age 20 and older) was still significantly lower than that of adult men, 61 percent versus 75 percent in 2009. Moreover, on average, women at every educational level and at every age spend fewer weeks in the labor force than do men.”
^^^ Remember what I said earlier?
*** “The differences between men and women in labor force attachment are much smaller among those with a college degree or more education.”
^^^ So women who are driven to succeed and are willing (and financially able) to attend college are more likely to take more challenging and higher paying jobs? Huh. Imagine that.
And it keeps getting better!
*** “In 2009, on the days that they worked, employed married women age 25–54 spent less time in labor market work and work- related activities than did employed married men in the same age group—7 hours and 40 minutes, compared to about 8 hours and 50 minutes.”
^^^ So men work longer hours.
And on page 41:
*** “Historically, women have been more likely than men to work part time (less than 35 hours per week). In 2009, 24 percent of employed women (age 20 and older) worked part time, compared to 11 percent of men.”
^^^ Scroll back up near the start and read point 3 again, second sentence. Men are less likely to work part time than women – turns out they’re less than half as likely.
The rest of the report talks about other things, like women’s health, the justice system and so on.
But to conclude, a report published by the CONSAD research group, in conjunction with the US Department of Labour states:
”. . . the raw wage gap continues to be used in misleading ways to advance public policy agendas without fully explaining the reasons behind the gap. . . 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 individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”
So there you have it. The wage gap is a myth. But if we can just get you to believe that it exists and is real, women can continue working jobs that are less dangerous, working fewer hours, and possibly get paid the same as men.