Saturday, April 10, 2010

Next Equal Occupational Fatality Day in 2020

"The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 20, 2010. This date symbolizes how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men earned in 2009. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages."

MP: The next "Equal Occupational Fatality Day" is Sunday October 11, 2020. This date symbolizes how far into the future women are expected to work to experience the same loss of life from work-related deaths that men experienced in just the single year 2008 (4,703 deaths for men compared to only 368 for women), according to
BLS data (see chart above). Because women work in much safer occupations and work environments than men, they must work decades longer than men to experience the same number of occupational fatalities. Equal Occupational Fatality Day is being established here as a public awareness event to illustrate the huge gap between men's and women's occupational deaths.

As the recent all-male coal mining deaths in West Virginia illustrate, a disproportionate number of men work in higher-risk occupations that are typically compensated with higher pay like coal mining (almost 100% male), fire fighters (96.6% male)
, police officers (84.5% male), correctional officers (73.1% male), and construction (97.4% male), BLS data here. A disproportionate number of women work in lower-risk, more comfortable and safer industries, often with lower pay to compensate for the more worker-friendly, indoor, comfortable, air-conditioned office environments, like Office and Administrative Support Occupations (74.5% female), Education, Training and Library Occupations (74.3%), and Healthcare (74.6%). These differences in work environments could likely reflect differences in "revealed preference" by gender - men prefer higher-paid, higher risk occupations, and women prefer lower-paid, lower risk occupations, in general and on average. It might not have anything to do with discrimination, and everything to do with differences in risk tolerances and risk-reward preferences.

To achieve gender pay equity, there will have to be an increase in the number of women in higher-paying, but higher-risk occupations like coal mining. That outcome will certainly reduce the gender pay gap, but it will come at a huge cost: sentencing thousands of women per year to certain fatal occupational deaths. Would closing the pay gap, if it also means closing the gender occupational death gap and exposing thousands of women to work-related deaths each year, really be worth it for women?

8 Comments:

At 4/10/2010 11:58 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

One interesting issue with the coal mine safety issue is why is work not being done on remote mining. People control the machines with a 20 to 40 foot cable now, its not much of a stretch to add a couple of tv cameras, and remote the control site a couple of thousand feet. Essentially miners control the machines from the refuge shelters only doing service work on the machines at the face. It seems that the cost of lives is low enough that the work has not pushed this but its clearly doable.

 
At 4/11/2010 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is classic Perry. Thanks for the help. I just got beat up on another blog for suggesting that the safety and risk cost of mining was (mostly) already included in the price of coal.

I suspect those machines need pretty near continuous maintenance.

Hydra

 
At 4/11/2010 4:23 AM, Anonymous rg said...

"The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 20, 2010. This date symbolizes how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men earned in 2009. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay."


I have never really understood this discussion. If women really cost less (as opposed to earn less), why would employers bother to employ men, if they can have the same for less, from women?

rg

 
At 4/11/2010 9:01 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I have never really understood this discussion. If women really cost less (as opposed to earn less), why would employers bother to employ men, if they can have the same for less, from women?"...

Not everyone works in an office?

In an office setting (or some place similer) I can easily see that your point would be perfectly valid...

There are many jobs where women can't hold up their end of the log (obviously this isn't universal regarding women) due to the differences in upper body strength...

 
At 4/11/2010 10:47 AM, Anonymous rg said...

@juandos

"There are many jobs where women can't hold up their end of the log"

I don't know what you want to tell me here. However, in your case an employer would not be able to (as you correctly quoted me) "have the same for less, from women?". So what is the problem?

rg

 
At 4/12/2010 12:29 AM, Blogger Cameron Murray said...

Fantastic post. Equal outcomes are not a benchmark. Equal opportunity should be.

 
At 4/13/2010 4:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I live, teachers, librarians and nurses make a lot more than police officers, correctional officers and firefighters. And, I thought coal miners were considered the working poor.

 
At 4/13/2010 10:03 AM, Blogger juandos said...

rg says: "So what is the problem?"...

That you're wrong...

It wouldn't be 'same for less', it would be less for the same as in cost of employee...

 

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