Guest Post: The Myth of the Wage Gap

Today we have a guest post from Tanner King, a fellow Canadian on the wage gap. Remember, we accept submissions for any blog-related topics. If you have something to say, feel free to send it in.

Once in a while a new statistic regarding the “gender wage gap” will find its way into the mainstream media. Generally we nod along and agree that disparity between earnings for men and women is unfair and should be rectified.

Then we change the channel. Rarely do we consider the implications of these statistics.

Usually they’re just two simple numbers placed side by side. A Toronto Sun article posted in April of 2012 states, in reference to women employees, “Overall they earn 77 cents for each dollar made annually by men…”

This article claims that a female working the same position with the same hours as a male will still make less. You will often notice vague language being used when these statistics are presented. What do they mean by “the same hours”. Is this the same hours per year; is it the same hours p er week? Perhaps for ten years a man and a woman in an executive position work the exact same hours and make the exact same amount of money, but then the woman takes time off for maternity leave, while the man continues to work and make more money, and maybe even achieve a pay raise.

A 2010 study by the Canadian Library of Parliament states “…the gap between women and men underlines the fact that they do not use their time in the same way and that the task of looking after dependent family members is largely borne by women.”

Generally when statistics like this are presented they don’t even go so far as to specify the type of jobs that were looked at or the amount of hours or the education of the people surveyed. It will just be a vague comparison ignoring most contributing factors. This is a tool that can be used to make the gap seem as vast and insurmountable as possible.

Additionally, despite what a lot of these studies would like you to think, this is not some worldwide conspiracy of oppression keeping females down. For example Ireland has the highest gender wage gap in the world…. in favour of women. Irish women without children earn 17 percent more than the typical male worker in the same position according to research by the OECD.

This is not one minor happening wherein the wage gap is reversed in favour of women either. A 2010 USA Today article reports that “Women ages 22 to 30 with no husband and no kids earn a median $27,000 a year, 8% more than comparable men in the top 366 metropolitan areas, according to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data…” The same article goes on to say “It isn’t true for all women in their 20s working full time — overall, they earn 90% of what all men in their 20s make — just for those who don’t marry or have kids.

Canadian economist Morley Gunderson comments, “Factors emanating from women’s role in the household (e.g., reduced hours in the labour market, reduced mobility because of household ties, education that is less labour–‐market oriented, interruptions in labour market careers, willingness to pay for workplace amenities that are family friendly) are important determinants of the pay gap.”

There is a wealth of information on the web regarding common majors for males and females. I would recommend looking up the statistics specific to your area, or simply talking to people. It’s staggeringly clear that, more often than not, men choose majors more suited to the job market. That means more likely to get a job right out of university, and it means higher wages overall. Women are typically drawn to liberal arts, design, public relations, and things of this nature. It’s no secret that there is not a lot of women in engineering, statistically one of the best choices in major.

Even through a small amount of critical thinking and research we are able to uncover a number of factors contributing to the wage gap in countries all over the world. The important thing is to take statistics for what they’re worth. Check the sources and understand that just because concrete numbers are presented does not mean there is not a bias.

It should also be noted that in Canada, as with the U.S., gender pay equality is a law. If any woman believes that her employer is paying her less because of her gender she has the ability to take legal action.

Feminist research groups will often try to claim any statistics that conflict with the idea that the wage gap is motivated solely by discrimination are lies perpetrated by an overbearing patriarchy. All that can be said to that is to do your own research, talk to people you know, and create some comparisons of your own.

Sources:

http://iwf.org/news/2790172/
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/04/18/women-still-confront-yawning-gender-wage-gap-study
http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/lop/researchpublications/2010-30-e.htm
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/close-the-gender-gap-now_9789264179370-en#page1
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2010-09-01-single-women_N.htm
http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2009/12/do-men-or-women-choose-majors-to-maximize-income

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5 responses to “Guest Post: The Myth of the Wage Gap

  • finndistan

    The stupidity is not even hidden anymore. By telling a lie as an acceptable truth, they aim to indoctrinate even further.

    Recently in the Finnish state news agency, this was stated. Openly stating

    “Wage gap”
    “Hair dresser makes less than surgeon”
    “Most surgeons are men, most hair dressers are women”
    “The difference is proof that wage gap exists”

    This is presented as logical thinking and is shit upon the population.

    The population eats it.

    Men die ten years earlier, never see their pension. And they earn more?

    Fuck that.

  • ibtisaam

    a director once told me that a group of mid level data analysts expressly requested NOT to be promoted as they, women in their forties with high school aged children did not want any additional responsibility or overtime commitments. they were also a tight-knit group of friends who obviously didn’t want to be separated. also, this market research company had 85% female employees but at director level only 3 out of 10…ALL 3 childless (but male directors all had children)

  • Wilson

    Nobody really believes the propaganda, but they do actually believe in what’s behind it: “equality of outcome”. Women should be paid more than men because they’re needier/they were brutalized by men for centuries/they’re mothers/they’re socially superior to men/etc. This premise that men and society owe women something extra goes way back, and is widely accepted, feminists just became autistically focused on it, and the out-of-control state is putting it to good use

  • Just Saying

    Everyone I know on a shortened work week (32 hours) is female – no men do that, most of the men are 45+ hours or more. Men get paid for 40 hours and work for 45 – the women? They get paid for 32 – so the men are doing 11% more work and not being paid for it, where as the women are doing 20% less than average. More than a few of those women take off Wednesday – which means they work less than that since they get full holidays – which are almost universally shifted to either a Monday or Friday.

    Of course, you won’t hear any of that from the talking-heads… So when you hear women get 77% of what men get paid, that’s because they work much less hours, even in the same career fields. And men also work harder, more dangerous work than women and get paid accordingly. Capitalism isn’t about charity – although the government forces more and more companies to act like it by mandates…

    When I am hiring I look for specific skills, but I know that every woman in her 20’s will be taking hours off the a man of the same age won’t. It’s the “woman-tax” – that every CEO will talk about in private, but never say anything about where it can be attributed to them.

  • Piere

    Check out Warren Farrell Why Mean Earn More

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