Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Pay Gap Myth

For years women’s groups have been trotting out statistics that show that women, on average earn less than men in their respective fields, insinuating some insidious bias at work.

Professor Walter E. Williams put that myth to bed years ago showing that women with the same amount of time in the work force earned nearly as much as males who stayed in the workforce.

Black women, on average, earned significantly more, than their white female colleagues because they tended to have fewer breaks in their work history.

On April 24th, the National Committee on Pay Equity announced that among full-time workers, women make only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. Of course, the three leading Democratic presidential candidates have all endorsed legislation to fix the problem.

I DON’T have a problem with this “Pay Gap,” although I do have a huge problem with people being paid differently for doing the SAME job, for the SAME amount of years and at the SAME proficiency.

None of that seems to be the case in any of the reputable studies done on the subject.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has done a report that acknowledges that "women with college degrees tend to go into fields like education, psychology and the humanities, which typically pay less than the sectors preferred by men, such as engineering, math and business. They are also, more likely than men, to work for nonprofit groups and local governments, which tend to offer more job security, but at lower salaries.

"As they get older, many women elect to work less so they can spend time with their children. A decade after graduation, 39 percent of women are out of the work force or working part time -- compared with only 3 percent of men. When these mothers return to full-time jobs, they naturally earn less than they would have if they had never left.

"Even before they have kids, men and women often do different things that may affect earnings. A year out of college, notes AAUW, women in full-time jobs work an average of 42 hours a week, compared to 45 for men. Men are also far more likely to work more than 50 hours a week."

Buried in the report is an incredible admission; "After accounting for all factors known to affect wages, about one-quarter of the gap remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination."

Recently, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin was asked whether there is sufficient evidence to conclude that women experience systematic pay discrimination. "No," she replied. “There are certainly instances of discrimination,” she says, “but most of the gap is the result of different choices.”

June O'Neill, an economist at Baruch College and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has gone even further, as she has uncovered something that debunks the entire discrimination thesis. Take out the effects of marriage and child-rearing, and the difference between the genders suddenly vanishes. "For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap," she said in a recent interview.


From “big issue,” to “no issue.”

WoW! So fast?!

I guess Walter E Williams was right all along then.

No comments:

American Ideas Click Here!