Sunday, August 07, 2011

Why the Gender Pay Gap Won’t Go Away. Ever.

"Because women prefer the mommy track." 

From Kay Hymowitz writing in City-Journal (emphasis added):

"Early last spring, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a much-anticipated report called "Women in America." One of its conclusions struck a familiar note: today, as President Obama said in describing the document, “women still earn on average only about 75 cents for every dollar a man earns. That’s a huge discrepancy.”

It is a huge discrepancy. It’s also an exquisite example of what journalist Charles Seife has dubbed “proofiness.” Proofiness is the use of misleading statistics to confirm what you already believe. Indeed, the 75-cent meme depends on a panoply of apple-to-orange comparisons that support a variety of feminist policy initiatives, from the Paycheck Fairness Act to universal child care, while telling us next to nothing about the well-being of women.

Women work fewer hours, choose less demanding jobs, and then earn less than men do? Why? The answer is obvious: kids. A number of researchers have found that if you consider only childless women, the wage gap disappears. June O’Neill, an economist who has probably studied wage gaps as much as anyone alive, has found that single, childless women make about 8 percent more than single, childless men do (though the advantage vanishes when you factor in education). Using Census Bureau data of pay levels in 147 of the nation’s 150 largest cities, the research firm Reach Advisors recently showed that single, childless working women under 30 earned 8 percent more than their male counterparts did.

That’s likely to change as soon as the children arrive. Mothers, particularly those with young children, take more time off from work; even when they are working, they’re on the job less. The AAUW's "Behind the Pay Gap" study found that “among women who graduated from college in 1992–93, more than one-fifth (23 percent) of mothers were out of the work force in 2003, and another 17 percent were working part time,” compared with under 2 percent of fathers in each case. Other studies show consistently that the first child significantly reduces a woman’s earnings and that the second child cuts them even further.

So it makes no sense to think of either the mommy track or the resulting wage differential as an injustice to women. Less time at work, whether in the form of part-time jobs or fewer full-time hours, is what many women want and what those who can afford it tend to choose. Feminists can object till the Singularity arrives that women are “socialized” to think that they have to be the primary parent. But after decades of feminism and Nordic engineering, the continuing female tropism toward shorter work hours suggests that that view is either false or irrelevant. Even the determined Swedes haven’t been able to get women to stick around the office."


At 8/07/2011 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the beliefs of the Left is the human condition can be changed or modified via public policy. This is just another simple example of their ignorance or arrogance.

At 8/07/2011 10:18 PM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

I know many men who stopped working heavy hours after they had children. They immediately stopped being promoted.

The Left loves to make broad sweeping conclusions from summary statistics, which is of course impossible. Why do they do that? Surely most researchers can not be so silly.

At 8/08/2011 2:15 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Your experience of men working fewer hours when they start having children isn't typical. I think you will find that studies such as those mentioned in the City Journal article, show that for the most part, men work even harder and longer when they have children, as they may feel they now have more responsibility, in addition to the need, in some cases, to make up for the loss of their wife's income if they stay home to care for children.

At 8/08/2011 5:45 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

NC, why "or"? Ignorance and arrogance seem to go hand in hand.

These people live entirely in the fantasy world of the normative. They can't handle reality and are arrogant enough to think they can change it.

At 8/08/2011 9:30 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Except for Q3 2006, before-tax profits for nonfinancials are at record levels for Q1 2011 and have been generally increasing over the last two years (not adjusted for inflation), data here


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