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April 20, 2005

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LoB

Check out the AFL-CIO web links on a variety of equal pay issues. There are many interesting links within the AFL-CIO website, but the one that is most relevant to your post debunks the faulty logic commonly stated for why women should indeed be paid less than men. Scroll down about a page on the following link to read about this -
http://www.aflcio.org/issuespolitics/women/equalpay/CaseForEqualPay.cfm

Other interesting links there include one that calculates, based on the salary information you provide, how many groceries and other stuff could be purchased after a lifetime of lost wages resulting from gender bias.

Peter

Thanks. I should put together a full post on some of the content the AFL-CIO has there. Very informative.

CL

A much more reasonable take on the issue from the St. Louis Fed - at most, 6 percent of the wage gap is unexplained, and probably less than that:

The Gender Wage Gap and Wage Discrimination - Illusion or Reality

"Most of the gender wage gap is due to factors other than wage discrimination, so it is illusory as an indicator of wage discrimination."

CL

Cross-posted from

Also, your study is looking at the period 1963-2000. Might have been some slight changes in society's acceptance of women in the workplace over that time period.

CL

Oops. Let's try that again:

P.M. - the study you're citing does not even control for specific occupation. So, for example, doctors and nurses would both fall under the "professional/technical" occupation in the "professional services" industry (see page 51 of the study you cited). Probably a pretty big gender wage gap in that catgory, all due to discrimination, no doubt.

Also, your study is looking at the period 1963-2000. Might have been some slight changes in society's acceptance of women in the workplace over that time period.

Peter

The GAO study does not control for specific occupation, but it does control for categories of occupations as you describe. I highly doubt the doctor/nurse example and similar ones can account for the significant remaining wage gap across numerous such categories.

Anyway, by citing the doctor/nurse example, you implicitly recognize that almost all doctors are men and almost all nurses are women. Why is this so? Certainly social pressures (and likely discrimination as well) have played a large part in keeping the number of women doctors down, and thus keeping women out of those particular high paying jobs. Regardless of the reason for this particular wage gap between (largely male) doctors and (largely female) nurses, it certainly exists and it certainly is large. And it certainly is not due to women taking time out of the workforce.

The period studied was 1983-2000, not 1963-2000. The changes in that period have not been nearly as great as in the previous twenty years.

As for the article you cite above, there are several fallacies there that I do not have time to address in full at the moment. The most obvious is its focus on data concerning relatively young women. Since other studies indicate that the wage gap grows with age, restricting data to young women will show an artificially small wage gap.

craichead

Almost all doctors are men?! Dude, open your eyes! I think that his indication of the difference between nurses and doctors is highly relevant, not to mention that it's difficult to even compare those working as doctors. I mean, do you realize the earnings difference between someone who chooses to practice as a cardiologist or someone who chooses to practice as a GP?

And 1963?! When was the Equal Pay Act passed? Wasn't that like 1964?

Of course there's social pressure for men and women to choose certain roles, but what the hell are we supposed to do about that? I for one would rather live in a free society under social pressure than some engineered 1984 in some politically correct fascist state.

There's another side to this coin that's never mentioned:

First: if you look at all these studies, they aren't pay gaps per se -- they're EARNINGS gaps. That is, it's not that people are getting paid less for the same work, they are simply earning less per year which is a completely different thing. I mean, take two people who work "Full time." Full time means anything over I think 35 hours per week.. Now for one person full time might mean working 36 hours while for another it means working 50 hours. If they're both being paid $15 per hour, the first person earns $540 while the second earns $825. That in itself is a difference of 65% for two people working the same job for the same pay scale.

And finally, the downside to the "male privelege" of being paid 25 cents more is an immeasurable devaluation as a human being. We're assessed by how much we can bring home and often by how much worth we have to the women and children of our society. Women on the other hand have an inherent human worth to themselves, our culture and not least of all to their families. As a man who is basically forced into daily exile by "social pressure" (Oh my I thought life was supposed to be easy) I can say that I'd gladly trade in an instant my ability to earn for an ability to stay home with my daughter more. Unfortunately my wife enjoys new cars and nice houses more.

Oh yeah and do you realize that there's a general transfer of wealth from men to women in our society? That's right. Women earn less, but spend more -- ask anybody in advertising, they'll tell you. Despite the fact that women earn only 75% of the wealth, they actually control 65% of it. Not a bad deal, I think.

Peter
Almost all doctors are men?! Dude, open your eyes!

Yes, the vast majority of doctors are men. Less than 30% are women according to data I found rather quickly using Google.

I mean, do you realize the earnings difference between someone who chooses to practice as a cardiologist or someone who chooses to practice as a GP?

Where is the evidence that women choose to be GPs rather than cardiologists? Furthermore, extending this kind of argument to explain why women are paid less than men in another 400-plus professions is ludicrous (see this later post).

And 1963?! When was the Equal Pay Act passed? Wasn't that like 1964?

The 1963 date is irrelevant and was brought up mistakenly by a previous commenter. The GAO study indicates an "unexplained" wage gap of 20% in the year 2000.

I for one would rather live in a free society under social pressure than some engineered 1984 in some politically correct fascist state.

This is a strawman. No one sensible--certainly not me--has even proposed any such thing to remedy this situation. Social pressures can be changed without a "politically correct fascist state", unless that is what you believe we live in now. Clearly women (and other groups) are far more accepted in numerous professions now than they were 30 years ago. Did it take a "politically correct fascist state" to do that?

There's another side to this coin that's never mentioned: First: if you look at all these studies, they aren't pay gaps per se -- they're EARNINGS gaps.

This certainly is mentioned. In fact, the entire point of the GAO study was to try to factor in difference in hours worked (and other factors). Still the pay gap exists.

Oh yeah and do you realize that there's a general transfer of wealth from men to women in our society? That's right. Women earn less, but spend more -- ask anybody in advertising, they'll tell you. Despite the fact that women earn only 75% of the wealth, they actually control 65% of it. Not a bad deal, I think.

This is a complete red herring, and I suspect it is not even close to accurate. It sounds like yet another lame excuse for why women should not be paid as much as men for the same work -- a rationalization for discrimination.

FP

"This is a complete red herring, and I suspect it is not even close to accurate. It sounds like yet another lame excuse for why women should not be paid as much as men for the same work -- a rationalization for discrimination."

Eh, I've heard it bandied about a lot and when I honestly look at society in general, who do I see spending a lot of the money? Women. Women like to shop and not just for necessities.

Anyway, I'm all for equal pay for equal work and I generally witness that today. I can believe discrimination happening on a micro level or in a certain field but overall? Not likely.

craichead

"This is a complete red herring, and I suspect it is not even close to accurate. It sounds like yet another lame excuse for why women should not be paid as much as men for the same work -- a rationalization for discrimination."

from this site:
http://www.trendsight.com/marketingtowomen.php

"Women, who comprise just over 50% of the U.S. population, make over 80% of the consumer purchasing decisions? (And in case you're wondering, consumer spending accounts for 2/3 of GNP, so that's hardly peanuts!) Moreover, because of their entry into the workplace over the past 30 years, and their rapidly accelerating income and ownership base, women are increasingly dominant in categories not traditionally marketed to them, including cars, computers, financial services, home improvement and consumer electronics."

So generally speaking, women earn 75% of what men do. Next they make the decision 80% of the time in how the money's spent. So where are they getting the money to make 80% of the purchases? Let's see, then men make 125% of the average woman's salary and makes 20% of the purchasing decisions. What's he doing with all that other money?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make an excuse for discriminating against women. It's just that I don't think that's oppression. Well...not of women anyway.


bellatrys

Sir, thank you for posting this - saw your link at echidne's. I am working on a post about this (that is, another) as it was one of many things that pushed me out of conservativism (don't we all notice something wrong when its our own ox getting gored?) because it was talking point of the week a fortnight ago among the Hegemony pundits - unchanged from when it was disgorged upon me as excuse by my own employers in Xtian publishing.

It all ties together - their hatred of unions, of womens' rights, of minorities: it's al about the powerful and rich clinging to wealth and power. Bread and roses, and now!

Peter

Glad you found it, and I'd be very interested in reading your own post on this matter when it's ready.

MWG

REBEL BELLES UNITE!!!Kim Gandy to speak at Reproductive Freedom Summer Kick-off rally Saturday, July 15, 2006Dear NOW Activist,Threats to reproductive eferdom and justice have never been so systematic and coordinated, and the lives and health of Mississippi women never faced such peril. The Jackson Area National Organization for Women (NOW), along with the Mississippi ACLU and the MS Reproductive Freedom Coalition are organizing an action around the upcoming hostile visit by Operation Oppress America (this is what they actually do), during the week of July 15-22, 2006.Year after year anti-choice bullies travel across the country terrorizing clinics, their staff and patients and each time, the pro-choice community continues to show support for women, feminist issues and safe legal access to reproductive health care, free of government and religious intrusion. As an organization with a strong pro-choice foundation, NOW stands firm on reproductive eferdom. We are committed to preserving a woman’s right to choose.July 15-22, 2006, Jackson, MS will be invaded by ‘Operation Oppress America’ and several other self-righteous, right-winged Christian fundamentalists, who use a nationwide network of churches to organize a series of actions against abortion providers and harass women visiting the clinics. They have chosen the Jackson’s Women Health Clinic-the only provider in Mississippi.The battle for reproductive eferdom is a human rights struggle that includes all matters of equality and social justice. Reproductive justice connects the similarities amid sexism, poverty, racism, xenophobia and homophobia in achieving undivided human rights. Pro-choice activists throughout the state have been organizing to combat this action. We have organized Reproductive Freedom Summer 2006: Providing a Peaceful Presence, a week long of scheduled pro-choice events to show support to the clinic, its staff and most importantly, the courageous patients.As a Chapter President and National Board Member, I respectfully ask for your support doing this challenging time. We need:• Activists to come to Jackson and aid in this fight• Volunteers• House activists during that week• Host a fundraiser for this effort• Sponsor activists• Financial contributions• Items for silent auction• Spread the word of our cause• MiscellaneousI thank those who have made donations to our effort already. The books, tapes, homemade items and money will be put to great use.Please take the time to circulate my request to others who may be of assistance to our cause. Jackson Area NOW is dedicated to upholding a woman’s fundamental right to choose whether or not to become a parent with reproductive health options that are safe, affordable and accessible. I hope you will join us this July in making history by participating in the largest pro-choice demonstration in Jackson, MS. I appreciate your time and look forward to standing side-by-side with you while we show the nation that the last clinic in Mississippi will not fall.Respectfully Yours,M. ColonPresidentJackson Area NOW ChapterP O Box 3833Jackson, MS 39207

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