This is partly an import from a previous post dealing with this topic via my old blog, and partly an update. In my original post entitle, Glass Ceilings, Veteran benefits, and Other Liberal Mantras, I chronicled the following:
The Glass Ceiling
President Clinton said that women make .73 cents on every man’s dollar. He used this as a campaign issue to try and smear Republicans. Kerry said that women make .76 cents on every man’s dollar, and likewise used this stat as a political smear. The question then is this, are these two persons correct?
YES! If you compare all men to all women, then yes, there is a disparage. This stat doesn’t take into account a few things. It doesn’t consider the fact that women tend to choose the humanities when entering college and men seem to choose the hard sciences. So by choice women tend to choose professions that pay less. Not only that, when you compare Oranges to Oranges, you get something much different than expected, or that we would expect from the liberal side of things. If a woman and a man have had the same level of education and have been on the same job for an equal amount of time, the woman makes $1,005 while a man makes $1,000, a difference of $5 dollars every thousand dollars a man earns.
Thomas Sowell is the most well written on this subject. In fact, in his book, Economic Facts and Fallacies, he devotes a whole chapter to this topic. In one area he points the following out, and keep in mind that in most countries mining or other hard-labor jobs are much more the norm than in America:
…various countries’ economies, there are still particular industries today where considerable physical strength remains a requirement. Women are obviously not as likely to work in such fields as men are— and some of these are fields with jobs that pay more than the national average. While women have been 74 percent of what the U.S. Census Bureau classifies as “clerical and kindred workers,” they have been less than 5 percent of “transport equipment operatives.” In other words, women are far more likely to be sitting behind a desk than to be sitting behind the steering wheel of an eighteen-wheel truck. Women are also less than 4 percent of the workers in “construction, extraction, and maintenance.” They are less than 3 percent of construction workers or loggers, less than 2 percent of roofers or masons and less than one percent of the mechanics and technicians who service heavy vehicles arid mobile equipment.
Such occupational distributions have obvious economic implications, since miners earn nearly double the income of office clerks when both work full-time and year-round 20 There is still a premium paid for workers doing heavy physical work, as well as for hazardous work, which often overlaps work requiring physical strength. While men are 54 percent of the labor force, they are 92 percent of the job-related deaths.
He goes on to point out that this volunteerism of choices continues onto Ph.D.s,
Given the asymmetrical effects of career obsolescence on women and men, it is hardly surprising that women tend to work in fields with lower rates of obsolescence— as teachers and librarians, for example, rather than as computer engineers or tax accountants. Even as the proportion of women receiving Ph.D.s rose dramatically from the 1970s on, male-female differences in the fields of specialization remained large. As of 2005, for example, women received more than 60 percent of the doctorates in education but less than 20 percent of the doctorates in engineering.
He then goes on to point out that do to life choices based on being close to family [kids], and choices made around work and family:
The most important reason why women earn less than men is not that they are paid less for doing the very same work but that they are distributed differently among jobs and have fewer hours and less continuity in the labor force. Among college-educated, never-married individuals with no children who worked fill-time and were from 40 to 64 years old— that is, beyond the child-bearing years— men averaged $40,000 a year in income, while women averaged $47,000.30 But, despite the fact that women in this category earned more than men in the same category, gross income differences in favor of men continue to reflect differences in work patterns between the sexes, so that women and men are not in the same categories to the same extent.
Even women who have graduated from top-level universities like Harvard and Yale have not worked full-time, or worked at all, to the same extent that male graduates of these same institutions have. Among Yale alumni in their forties, “only 56 percent of the women still worked, compared with 90 percent of the men,” according to the New York Times. It was much the same story at Harvard:
A 2001 survey of Harvard Business School graduates found that 31 percent of the women from the classes of 1981, 1985 and 1991 who answered the survey worked only part time or on contract, and another 31 percent did not work at all, levels strikingly similar to the percentages of the Yale students interviewed who predicted they would stay at home or work part time in their 30’s and 40’s.
In fact, as of a few years ago, women make more of the enrollment statistics in college, but will, through life choices, spend less time on the job that they went to school for than their male counterparts. All this brings me full circle to a great article that updates the above via the Wall Street Journal. They point out that much of the emphasis on this are by special interest groups that want to fix the problem — in my mind’s eye — with outdated thinking that no longer fits the evidence. This is much of the left’s “padded” thinking mind you! the WSJ’s article, entitled,There Is No Male-Female Wage Gap: A study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that women earned 8% more than men, is a great update to the above:
Tuesday is Equal Pay Day—so dubbed by the National Committee for Pay Equity, which represents feminist groups including the National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, the National Council of Women’s Organizations and others. The day falls on April 12 because, according to feminist logic, women have to work that far into a calendar year before they earn what men already earned the year before.
In years past, feminist leaders marked the occasion by rallying outside the U.S. Capitol to decry the pernicious wage gap and call for government action to address systematic discrimination against women. This year will be relatively quiet. Perhaps feminists feel awkward protesting a liberal-dominated government—or perhaps they know that the recent economic downturn has exposed as ridiculous their claims that our economy is ruled by a sexist patriarchy.
The unemployment rate is consistently higher among men than among women. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 9.3% of men over the age of 16 are currently out of work. The figure for women is 8.3%. Unemployment fell for both sexes over the past year, but labor force participation (the percentage of working age people employed) also dropped. The participation rate fell more among men (to 70.4% today from 71.4% in March 2010) than women (to 58.3% from 58.8%). That means much of the improvement in unemployment numbers comes from discouraged workers—particularly male ones—giving up their job searches entirely.
Men have been hit harder by this recession because they tend to work in fields like construction, manufacturing and trucking, which are disproportionately affected by bad economic conditions. Women cluster in more insulated occupations, such as teaching, health care and service industries.
Yet if you can accept that the job choices of men and women lead to different unemployment rates, then you shouldn’t be surprised by other differences—like differences in average pay.
Feminist hand-wringing about the wage gap relies on the assumption that the differences in average earnings stem from discrimination. Thus the mantra that women make only 77% of what men earn for equal work. But even a cursory review of the data proves this assumption false.
The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.
Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.
Men, by contrast, often take on jobs that involve physical labor, outdoor work, overnight shifts and dangerous conditions (which is also why men suffer the overwhelming majority of injuries and deaths at the workplace). They put up with these unpleasant factors so that they can earn more.
Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.