Feb 13, 2014

Gender Pay Gap. Facts, Logic and Data? Check, check and check.

Yes. It exists. Yes there's still biases that are not accounted for. These biases include women making less because a man might be in charge and might have some prejudices. However, when accounting same education and experience in the same field, it still exists. What is not accounted for in this data is child rearing and the amount of time it takes "out" of the job field to take care of children.  So, it still exists, but nowhere near the level that everyone thinks of it as....

Generalizing here, it is true that women are paid 0.77 per every $1.00 a man will make but based off of the Government Accountability Office, they have interesting statistics to discuss the reasons for this. Now it would be nice to have a higher sample of people to research, but they did what they could.
I often hear from a multitude of reports of men being awful or sexist and keeping women away from high-paying jobs, or if they’re in these high-paying jobs, they’re paid less. Because men don’t allow women to be paid more. But is this true? When comparing women to men who have the same level of education, same experience, and don’t leave work, who don’t have children, tend to make slightly less and sometimes, more. Especially when younger. I know you probably don’t like hearing that, though. It’s dependent on whether or not the man or woman has the same exact experience in the same exact field and position, same level of credentials and education, they must not be married or have any children or have any along the way.
With that said, I will acknowledge that gender bias exists in all fields. All of them. Including the one I’m in currently.
Now, of course I’m going to verify this. In order to look at some facts, I would prefer using independent, non-partisan, objective data. The GAO was established by the government to find these facts. Why are women paid less than men, on average?
The rest of this information is gathered from various sources that I’ll post. What many articles from Huffington Post and Slate, Salon and others tend to ignore is the other perspectives. The Huffington Post article will bbaarreellyy mention the following points that I have gotten from other sources. Why not use the Huffington Post or Salon? They all argue the same thing, essentially: men are at fault for the gender pay gap. According to the hard data here, it’s not exactly that. If someone tells me to “look at the facts” but doesn’t bother to look at the hard data for these multifaceted causes of the gender gap like this….
….I tell them, “likewise to you, my tolerant friend.” 

Do Men Really Earn More Than Women?

Ok, here we go.
For one, In case you neglect to even read what these reports mention, you will find that it discusses that women often work less, in terms of overall hours. When comparing men and women of even the same field, women are often presented with less overall amount of hours per year. Even in the same position. This is generalizing, right? Well, even a well-placed and claimed fallacy has a solid nugget of truth behind it. Women, on average, not being sexist here, tend to work less overall hours. They may account to 50% of the workforce but they work less hours. If you work less hours, you make overall less money. That is what the Huffington Post articles do not really discuss.
Two, they also tend to pick professions that often make less than others. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Women who pick less-paying professions often have a different, more powerful yield to society: increasing someone else’s social capital and fulfillment. Example: Women are 80% of the teaching workforce for elementary and middle schools. They make the biggest impact on a child’s life. Though, they get paid less in these positions. But there’s a tradeoff here. For the less pay, they create a bigger impact on society. Should teachers get paid more for doing this? Sure. Should  
Three, women tend to take a longer leave of absence between children being born. We know why? Well, men typically in our culture work more hours as women tend to rear children (hence working less to stay at home more often than men). We know that. Other reasons for this? Men cannot breast feed. This renders men useless to an infant’s demanding feeding schedule (unless the mother has plenty of time to pump during her lunch breaks but we know this is really time-consuming).
Four, as a result of these longer absences, women often get paid less when they come back to the work force. Ok, this is where I will end up fighting for a woman’s right to have her old job back, at the same rate of pay. This happens more often, but in the past and still today, women come back to the workforce with a different job…..which means they’re not experienced in that particular field or the company has set wages for new workers.
Five, this is something of a harsh reality in society. As more children are born out of wedlock, they’re less likely to have that second parent earning an income. Any income. Child support barely makes a dent. Instead, you have a lot of single mothers that are left with children and trying to find work at the same time. Possibly going to school as well. This puts women at a further disadvantage as they typically are succumbed to less pay because of the lack of time to find a better job and better schooling…that results in a better job. There are public funds to alleviate this but they hardly make a dent.
Now, if you take this into consideration, even accounting that women are faaarrr more educated than men in this country (these days), they still get paid less. In fact, women are far more likely to get a degree (these days) than a man will. This also increases student loan debt. Guess what? This contributes to a reduction in net pay as well.... some employers will "cut" some of your pay to help you pay back your student loans.... Just another example of a reason of the pay gap....
The overall, over-arching reasons for this gender pay gap is women (1) choose different, less-paying positions and (2) because women tend to take care of children more than men in this country, they often need to be at home after the birth longer to take care of the babies….which means that (2) women are paid less because they work less hours.
Now, when the overwhelming amount of data discusses that women happen to work less hours per year on average to stay at home more often to take care of children, why is this sexist? We know, that it still exists and of course there are cases where women make less money than men when they’re pretty much equal in terms of education, experience, position in field, no children, not married, etc. I am not simply denying this. I am simply proposing a valid argument.
I am simply saying that the simplistic view that “women make less because of men doing something bad” is frivolous. If you believe in this, your own government hired people to find the best possible answers and as a result, have weakened that simplistic view. As of today, there are many changes in society
If you are going to comment on the fact that sexism still exists, then I will more than likely agree with you. Things are different now but some people don’t change. We get that. Now, go back and look at the data…..women work less hours, even in the same field….. Because of why? Children. 

Some sources: 





http://www.gao.gov/assets/290/287375.pdf   (this about federal workforce. There is still a 7% pay gap but it does not discuss amount of hours actually worked or involvement of child-rearing).

http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/581612 (podcast and here's the transcript--http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/581613.txt)

http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/03/Graduating-to-a-Pay-Gap-The-Earnings-of-Women-and-Men-One-Year-after-College-Graduation-Executive-Summary-and-Recommendations.pdf  (discusses everything that the Huffington Post/Salon articles discuss but doesn't discuss the other reasons. There is still a bias from men and this source discusses this.)


  1. If this is really true, I'll be curious to see what happens in the next decade, considering women are earning more college degrees than men, and women also are starting to outnumber men in the fields of science and medicine. I'd also be curious to know whether there's a gap in hourly pay or salaries, instead of just solely overall income.

  2. As the data is suggesting, the pay gap in hourly rates is relatively smaller than what is thought.
    Another similar topic is that of pilots. Most start out for airline companies based off of other major airline companies. The hourly pay is pretty good. The overall pay is relatively small because of the lack of hours and amount of travel time to airport, hotel fees, etc; that are not paid for. What is said in USA Today, TIME and those Frontline "documentaries" is that they only represent bits and pieces of the data. Most of these pilots already have second jobs and had them from the beginning, know the pilot pay was minimal. However, they chose to do this for a future of flying for the larger commercial airline companies....which pay a lot more than the smaller, charter-based companies.
    Off topic? No because I'm giving an example of how data is misrepresented. When you consider these options within the data, the pilot pay, after a few years of hard work, is excellent. These pilots have their "second" job that typically might pay more, knowing the pilot pay overall is weak. In the end, they keep their new pilot job that pays more (usually when they become first officer of the major airline).

    With this said, according to this data about women's pay, society is doing excellent. It wasn't policy, per se, that would have been the actual cause of reduction of the pay gap but instead everyone in society responding to the social changes. Women wanted to work. So they fought for it and they got it! As a result of years of not working as often as men, were seeing the pay gaps close. I know policy helped push some of this along but most of it was a response to women demanding (rightfully so!) proper pay and remaining very competitive in the workforce.
    This issue is that even though women represent half of the work force, they often work less hours. When you consider this, think about any job you've ever had.... who gets the first pay raise? The part time employees?

    No, not usually. It's not only based off of performance (which women are excellent workers) but seniority of time-in-industry as well. Hence full time employees getting the raises first.

    If more people were careful about where the data comes from, who interprets the data and who reports the data, these outcomes would be vastly different. This research took me a great deal of my personal free time and I learned a great deal from it. As you can see, I used several differing perspectives but chose the best data that represented several arguments. Government income and census data, a website dedicated to women's rights, and news articles.....

    Instead, if you look at Huffington Post articles, MoveOn.org, Slate, Salon, The Nation, or Occupy Movement websites, they will NOT look into such data. Even Paul Krugman seems to miss some really important factors when it comes to interpreting this data. He seems to cherry pick what he wants and usually uses the simplistic view of the same "snap shot" data from Huffington Post....

    There is still a pay gap, ever so slightly, that still exists.

    America has made great social change so far!

    Ryan poses a good point about the upcoming disparity in women graduating college at a much fast rate. the American Enterprise Institute author's discussed this in better detail though.


If you post anything, especially in disagreement, please feel free to provide a link to prove your point just in case people are curious. Including me!