Guilt Industry Meme of the Day: Women Earn Less Than Men
“Rhode Island women earn $10,200 less than men” says the Providence Business News headline.
Full-time employed women in Rhode Island are paid an average of $10,191 less than their male counterparts, according to research conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families.
The research is meant to shed light on the persisting gender-based wage gap on Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, April 12.
In Rhode Island, a woman working full time is paid $39,248 per year, while a man working full time is paid $49,439 per year.
Nationally, women working full-time are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar that men earn.
Well, not quite, says Carrie Lukas:
Feminist hand-wringing about the wage gap relies on the assumption that the differences in average earnings stem from discrimination. Thus the mantra that women make only 77% of what men earn for equal work. But even a cursory review of the data proves this assumption false.
The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.
Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.
Men, by contrast, often take on jobs that involve physical labor, outdoor work, overnight shifts and dangerous conditions (which is also why men suffer the overwhelming majority of injuries and deaths at the workplace). They put up with these unpleasant factors so that they can earn more.
Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.
I hope it’s obvious that equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, creed, etc. is desirable. Stories like this relying on a simplistic statistical reading are meant to generate controversy, continue to foment a “battle of the sexes” mindset and, gee whiz, just maybe make it appear that feminist culture warriors are still relevant.