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Feminspire | April 19, 2014

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“There is No Gender Pay Gap”

“There is No Gender Pay Gap”

| On 28, May 2013

There’s a little misconception that needs to be cleared up when it comes to the supposed “myth” of the gender wage gap. Apparently, feminists at the AAUW compiled a report that “proved” there wasn’t one. According to an article on Huffington Post a while ago, the wage gap is almost non-existent, and a myth. Well, considering the way mainstream media has been working (or not working) these days, we can no longer simply take journalists at their word.

The report the article is based on was called Graduating to a Pay Gap. The first thing that needs to be pointed out about the report is the population sample that the study was based on. Methodology in any study is important, and in this case it was vital. The report was compiled based on college graduates one year after graduation. Before we even get into the actual numbers in the report itself, we have to stop and think about how relevant the study is to most people currently in the work force. It doesn’t include anyone who doesn’t have a degree, or anyone with more than a year of working in the field. It directly addresses the issue women face when paying off student loans.

The report was created in such a way that it compensated for things like hours worked, field of employment, and college major. The idea was to make certain the comparison was brutally fair. Comparing a woman who only works thirty-five hours per week to a man who works sixty hours per week just isn’t all that fair of a comparison. It didn’t compare a nuclear physicist with a computer programmer or a teacher, and it took into consideration the fact that graduates from certain schools would already have a leg up based on the reputation of their school.

Now, if the report had really proven there was no wage gap, there would be no point in carrying on with this discussion. We’d simply be saying, “Oh, yay! Women have finally won the battle!” Sadly, that’s not even close to the case here. The wage gap that remained, even accounting for all of the factors previously mentioned, ranged from seven to eighteen percent. If you stop and think about it, that’s not exactly small potatoes. Based on the idea that a male might be making approximately $50,000 per year, a female would be making anywhere from $41,000 to $46,500, losing somewhere between $3,500 and $9,000. Student loans look a whole lot bigger under those circumstances.

Of course, those numbers are based on a very small sampling of the population, so it doesn’t say a whole lot about the gender wage gap in general. Mind you, the groups fighting against those who are striving for equal pay have no problem with trotting out the notion that the whole thing is a myth that was supposedly exposed by an article they read. Meanwhile, it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

The only fair way to look at the gap in wages is to take as large a sampling as possible. In 2007, the AAUW released a different (earlier) report called Behind the Pay Gap, which was based not only on one year after graduation, but also ten years after graduation. The wage gap only widens the further the employees were from their graduation. Women in the study actually scored higher grade point averages during their college years, only to find themselves making a lot less money.

Ten years after graduation, women were making only sixty-nine percent of the wages men were making when they worked full-time. Part-time employment figures showed women making only fifty-six percent of the wages their male counterparts were making. In families where there were children, the gap in full-time wages increased – women were making only sixty-three percent compared to the men.

Now, those numbers are about six years old, so maybe they’re not as relevant now. Well, it would be nice to hope so, but the latest report from the AAUW, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, appears to show otherwise. The report is dated 2013, and references data from 2011. It still shows the twenty-three percent wage gap that many are already familiar with. When the report discusses the numbers with respect to adjusting for employment differences, the gaps that remained unexplained in the previous reports are still present, and the seven to eighteen percent gap is still the currently available figure.

What this all boils down to is the fact that the wage gap is still very much present in the U. S. economy. These are not pie-in-the-sky numbers that are meaningless because someone is comparing apples to oranges. The numbers are adjusted to take those things into consideration so that we can be as fair as possible about what is really happening with our wages. The data doesn’t come from another universe, either. It comes straight from the US government.

This is an issue that directly impacts families. If a woman makes less money in her field than a man does, she has less to bring home. This puts further strain on her partner to take up the slack financially. In the case of male-female pairings, it puts the strain on a man. In the case of female-female pairings, both partners are most likely making lower wages than their male counterparts, and there is no one to make up the difference. When there are children in the home, there is less money coming in to provide for them.

The wage gap is not a myth, and never has been. It’s a fact of life that far too many families are having to live with every single day. It is very discouraging for any young woman who might be about to embark on a college career, since it’s not exactly a secret that she’s probably not going to make as much money in the future as her male classmates. Equal pay for equal work would make a very positive difference for everyone.

Written by Rain Stickland
Follow her blog, Torrential Rain, or her Twitter!

  • FeministDisney

    I really think we’re beyond the point where we can discuss this without making it a point to mention how the wage gap we continually mention as a percentage is the wage gap for WHITE women. When you look at the comparisons across gender AND race, it becomes clear that the situation is even more dire for women of color, and men of color fare no where near as well as WHITE men do, whom the statistic comparison is really for.

  • ABro1973

    So as an employer what I’m hearing is, I should hire more women, because they are willing to do the same work for less pay then men. That sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?

    • Steve Smith

      “Whats the catch?”

      Pregnancy leave?

  • Steve Smith

    Funny how the author left out where women are making more than men and that clearly not reading the linked studies. If the author had then they would have seen overall there is no pay gap. As its hard to have a pay gap that is due to “discrimination” when one chooses to make less.

  • The__Capitalist

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons for men to get paid more money that have nothing to do with discrimination. For one thing, as any psychologist could tell you, traits that aid in negotiation are mostly masculine in nature. Men are more likely to demand raises and negotiate for more pay than women are. For another thing… women are naturally riskier hires because they are more likely to seek a paid leave, specifically maternity leave, for example. It’s simply bad business for an employer to get stuck paying someone for doing nothing, regardless of gender, but it just so happens that women are the gender far more likely to end up seeking to get paid for doing nothing. There is also the inherent risk caused by feminism, as hiring women creates a workplace risk of sexual harassment lawsuits and other frivolous claims where a business can get mired in legal trouble just because a woman’s feelings got hurt. These are all valid reasons for women to get paid less that have nothing to do with discrimination, but which are simply related to dollars and cents and the business bottom line.

  • Mike

    1) Women go on maternity leave
    2) Many women CHOOSE lifestyle over salary – the opposite of men
    3) In many countries (Britain) men retire 5 years later than women
    4) More women choose to do part time jobs than men
    5) More men do high risk jobs which usually pay more. Testosterone makes men greater risk takers. Or are we also denying biology here?
    7) Women in their twenties are outperforming men in salary, promotion and are taking more of the ‘professional’ jobs than men

    You women are strong, powerful, intelligent creatures, so why do you have to resort to this childish man bashing?

    • anon

      I think why they resort to man bashing is because they are anything but strong powerful and intelligent hence those other points.

  • Guest

    The author of this article is an idiot. That report was controlled heavily in favour of supporting the myth of a wage gap, not the other way. The report proves that discrimination is almost non existent while trying its hardest to deny it.