Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gender Pay Gap? There's An App For That Coming reported this week that "The Obama administration recently launched a software development competition designed to help achieve equal pay in the workforce for American women. The competition has several prize categories, including five scholarships to attend an 8-week design and entrepreneurship program. Another winner will get $5,000 from a private nonprofit to help further develop their app."

It's called the Equal Pay App Challenge, and here's some information from the competition's website:

"Nearly 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, on average women are still paid less than their male counterparts for doing comparable jobs – that’s called the pay gap. It means that each time the average woman starts a new job, she’s likely to start from a lower base salary, but it also means that over time the pay gap between her and her male colleagues is likely to become wider and wider.

For the average working woman, the pay gap means $150 less in her weekly paycheck, $8,000 less at the end of the year, and $380,000 less over her lifetime. For women of color and women with disabilities, the disparity is even bigger. Your challenge is to use publicly available labor data and other online resources to educate users about the pay gap and to build tools to promote equal pay."

Here's an example of how the app might work for some women, based on these salary data:

Enter Your Marital Status: Single

Enter whether you work full-time or part-time: Full-time

Enter the number of children you have: Zero

Do you work in a large U.S. city? Yes

Enter your age: Under 30 years old

Enter your city of employment below, and the Equal Pay App will report the gender pay gap for your demographic group in your geographic area.  A negative (positive) pay gap reflects lower (higher) median full-time salaries for women in your group (single, childless, under 30 years old) compared to your male counterparts.

Atlanta: +20% pay gap in favor of women

Memphis: +20% pay gap in favor of women

New York City: +17% pay gap in favor of women

Los Angeles: +12% pay gap in favor of women

San Diego: +15% pay gap in favor of women

Charlotte: +14% pay gap in favor of women

Warning: You have uncovered a significant gender pay gap in favor of women, and your employer may be paying single, childless women under 30 years old more than men in that same demographic group.  This could be illegal gender discrimination in violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and you should report this potential violation of federal law to your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thanks for using the Equal Pay App. 

HT: Christina Sommers


At 2/12/2012 11:02 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Heh. When men earned more than women for the same job (which was never), it was a 'glass ceiling'.

Now that women earn more, the response is 'Quick! Let's focus on how women are not 50% of CEOs and Board Members now!'.

Women have absolutely no ability to avoid hypocrisy, and are quite relentless about rigging things in their favor at the expense of men and children.

That is why democracy has a life cycle. Men vote for what benefits all people, but women vote for what benefits women only.

At 2/13/2012 8:29 AM, Blogger reprise8 said...

kmg -

Women aren't "rigging" anything. Gov't is, in order to buy votes. Women, like any other group or individual, will take the advantages when they are handed out at someone else's expense.

At 2/13/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Hang on, Reprise8. Why is it when men earn more than women it's for sound reasons but you assume that when a woman earns more than a man she is handed something at someone else's expense?

These are women who are single and childless. Children are a major stumbling block to women's careers and mothers understandably earn less (they are, as a group, less productive).

At 2/13/2012 10:21 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

In a truly free labor market none of these things would be necessary - The Equal Pay Act, the Equal Pay "App". As Milton Friedman routinely pointed out, free labor markets are anti-discriminatory. It may be, as Methinks suggests, that in the end women will wind up earning more, but those earnings would be a reflection of their abilities and productivity.

At 2/13/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Hang on, Reprise8. Why is it when men earn more than women it's for sound reasons but you assume that when a woman earns more than a man she is handed something at someone else's expense?"

i don't think that's what he's saying methinks.

he's not objecting to the pay difference, but the government seeking to come in and address a non problem in order to shore up a group of voters.

At 2/13/2012 11:36 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Does anyone think the If You Be Baby Mama, Then You Will Be Poor App will win the compeititon?

What is the trend of unmarried women having babies?

"The percentage of births to unmarried women has steadily increased in the past few
decades, from 5.3 percent in 1960 to 36.8 percent in 2005."

"Women of Color" are much more likely to have unmarried births. According to ChildTrendsDataBank:

"In 2005, 69.5 percent of all births to non-Hispanic black
women, 63.3 percent of births of American Indian or Alaskan native woman, and 47.9 percent of births to Hispanic women occurred outside of marriage,..."

What can the unmarried mothers and their children expect?

"Unmarried mothers
generally have lower incomes, lower education levels, and greater dependence on welfare
assistance than do married mothers."

Stopping and reversing the trend of single mothers would immediately increase incomes of "women of color".

At 2/13/2012 12:13 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

I applaud Perry for bringing these issues to the fore.

Men are incarcerated much more often than women, die in wars more, perform the hardest menial labor (sewers, trash), and suffer more in schools that reward children for sitting still (boys need to run around a lot). Men die younger, live in poorer health.

Our society should geared much more to trying to ensure that men are successful, and given large rewards for responsible behavior.

At 2/13/2012 12:35 PM, Blogger reprise8 said...

Methinks - I made no assumptions in re: why one person earns one amount while another earns something else. The issue here is not "rigging" salaries. It is the gov't continually putting out one program after to "fix" a problem which arguably does not exist. By "advantages", I mean mostly preferential hiring or admission to certain university programs, not salary.

At 2/13/2012 12:38 PM, Blogger Marko said...

In a free market, if woman truly can do the same job as a man and as well, then companies that have a sex bias in favor of men are hurting themselves. This means that over time, companies that prefer men in general will not do as well as companies that hire the best candidate, regardless of sex. This also means that the proponents of "equal pay" and non-discrimination laws implicitly believe that woman are not as good as men at jobs and need the help, or they don't understand that the market eventually corrects for this, or most likely both.

Also, notice how this app doesn't ask you for more details about your specific job, since that would mess up the whole illusion of bias. PLUS - it is already illegal to pay men and women differently for doing the same job, and has been for decades. I guess this proves that legal protections don't work!

At 2/13/2012 12:48 PM, Blogger reprise8 said...

morganovich - very interesting (insert Arte Johnson accent if you wish). I actually posted the above before reading your post.

Anecdotal, yes, but still - from my observation both as an employee AND an employer for some time in the past (still self-employed, but choosing not to hire any longer, for reasons that can turn this into a very very long post), I totally understand the tendency for those particular women to earn more. It most likely a question of statistical distribution.

It's kind of like this - overall statistics would indicate that since black males are more likely to be incarcerated than whites, then this black man who is a doctor is more likely to be a criminal than this drug addicted, unemployed white guy with anger issues. That would be an absurd conclusion, but one that misunderstanding of statistics would seem to support.

Off the top of my head, I would say that single women who are in their 30's or 40's and are childless, are much more likely to have prioritized their lives in a way that lends itself to making more money. Comparing them with all single men in similar circumstances could be almost as ridiculous as the above black/white comparison. Assuming that both groups consist of the same personalities and in equal numbers is not necessarily a sound assumption.

At 2/13/2012 1:42 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


women are also more likely to get a college degree than men. they are well over 50% of college enrollment.

that drives income.

men, however, are far more likely to be injured or die at work. they take more dangerous jobs, like construction, deep sea fishing, law enforcement, whatever. such jobs tend to also pay more.

it's a really complex issue.

your point about prisons is interesting. the US incarcerates a shocking number of people. even once you are out, "yes" on felony conviction is going to hurt earnings prospects, likely forever.

there is a ton of noise here.

to get a real sense, you'd need to look at men and women with the same educational background and degree and the same jobs and see how pay looks.

using the aggregates is really tricky.

At 2/13/2012 1:54 PM, Blogger reprise8 said...

if by

"using the aggregates is really tricky."

you mean one has the intention to trick somebody by making it appear "proven", then you are absolutely correct ;-)

But seriously, it seems we agree that even when one thinks one is comparing apples to apples, if the groups are large, there will be enough variables that still make the comparison apples and Mack trucks.

And when we are dealing with humans, who, unlike inanimate objects or bacteria, are self-determined beingswith personalities, and have the ability to change their minds, deriving correlations even from groups of 10 will usually be meaningless.

At 2/13/2012 2:31 PM, Blogger kmg said...

There is no ideology or hate cult that is as unopposed as feminism.

Red 'The Misandry Bubble' to learn about the full scope of this. This is the granddaddy of all anti-feminism essays.

At 2/13/2012 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was interesting to listen to the EconTalk with Baumeister a couple months ago, where he talked about some of the biological underpinnings of these gender differences. The one that particularly struck me was how you were more likely to survive the Titanic if you were a poor woman than a rich man, as they just placed such a premium on the reproductive capability of women back then. So much of human culture is built around the historical logic that since you might always be pillaged by the surrounding villages or countries, you had to reproduce as much as you could, so you had as many males as possible to win those battles and as many females as possible to increase the size of your tribe. But modern technology has turned so much of that logic on its head. First off, there is little to no war these days, we've elevated up a level to economic competition instead of physical battles, so war is almost irrelevant. Even if we somehow did go to war, modern war is not about having the most people, it's about having a culture advanced enough to produce the best fighter jets and long-range missiles. That's not about cranking out as many kids as you can, it's about creating a society that values science and intelligence, almost the opposite of the previous brute force approach that most societies still unfortunately value. The society with fighter jets wipes out the society that cranks out tons of kids, flat out, every time.

But all that talk of war is almost irrelevant, because it is so rare. Now that the world is all about economic competition, what's important is still about creating a more intelligent culture, but the gender roles change. Where men played their role more by taking physical risks, now it's all about intellectual or conceptual risk. As for women, their role is changing from spawning and raising the kids and managing the home to being the connected decision-makers that manage modern companies. The societies that realize these fundamentals and change their antiquated cultures- all cultures become antiquated because they were created in much different times, like the Muslims who still don't eat pork even though it's now safe to do so with modern sanitation and refrigeration- to adapt modern realities are the ones who'll succeed in the coming century. So far, essentially nobody's doing a good job at it, but the US is perhaps the best of a weak bunch, ie the tallest of the pygmies.

At 2/13/2012 3:07 PM, Blogger reprise8 said...

Interesting, Spre - so do I understand this correctly? The world is changing, and no one is really doing a very good job at adapting to the changes, presumably because they either don't know where the world is going, or don't know what to do about it. But since you are apparently in a position to pass judgement on the quality/quantity of adaptation, am I to assume that you are the only one who not just knows the future, but also knows how we all should prepare for it?

And to be so unappreciated for it must be excruciating. Quite a cross to bear.

At 2/13/2012 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reprise8, looks like you understand it correctly. As for whether I'm the only one who sees these things, who knows. I mostly came up with it using my own reasoning, just recently, so it's possible that it's all been written about elsewhere in some book I've never heard of. As for being unappreciated or your wacko notion that coming up with a theory like this is somehow "a cross to bear," not sure what you're trying to get at. Let me guess, you disagree with what I'm saying on some level but are too dumb to voice any real criticism, so you instead go for ad hominem speculation, am I right? :)

At 2/13/2012 3:29 PM, Blogger reprise8 said...

"...but are too dumb to voice any real criticism, so you instead go for ad hominem speculation..."

And I'M the one "going for" ad hominem speculation?

I could say you seem to be too dumb to understand obvious sarcasm, but I won't. I thought it was God-awful presumptuous of you to sit in judgement of how people are adapting to the future, as if you know what it is going to be.

At 2/13/2012 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reprise8, how am I supposed to respond to your ad hominem speculation: by making reasoned critical arguments responding to the non-existent arguments from you? I can only respond in kind. Haha, now you try to play your tripe off as sarcasm, this will be funny. Please explain how sarcasm changes anything about your ad hominem attack, I don't think you even know what sarcasm means. I judge because I obviously know and think about a lot more than most other people: it is awfully presumptuous of you to claim otherwise when you cannot articulate a single criticism of my argument. :)

At 2/13/2012 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a woman, and every time I hear that women earn less that men, I think of this video. It exposes the seriously flawed assumptions behind the so-called income gap. Finally someone gets it.

At 2/13/2012 5:48 PM, Blogger Marko said...

I will say it again - it is against the law to pay a woman less for the same job as a man, everything else being equal. That is why people have to point to aggregates. If you could show that woman in an industry were under paid for the same job as men, at the same experience and education level, you could make a ton of money on class action lawsuits, but they are rare for equal pay. Same for reverse discrim - people are still getting paid the same in the same jobs, it us just that men and women are choosing different jobs, in the aggregate.

At 2/13/2012 8:01 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ok, Reprise8. I get it. Thank you.


Post a Comment

<< Home