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What gender gap?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Incontinentia, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/01/no-women-don-t-make-less-money-than-men.html

    No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men
    It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die—and president deployed it during the State of the Union—but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.
    President Obama repeated the spurious gender wage gap statistic in his State of the Union address. “Today,” he said, “women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

    What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers. In its fact-checkingcolumnon the State of the Union, theWashington Postincluded the president’s mention of the wage gap in its list of dubious claims. “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”

    Consider, for example, how men and women differ in their college majors. Here is a list (PDF) of the ten most remunerative majors compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Men overwhelmingly outnumber women in all but one of them:

    1. Petroleum Engineering: 87% male
    2. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: 48% male
    3. Mathematics and Computer Science: 67% male
    4. Aerospace Engineering: 88% male
    5. Chemical Engineering: 72% male
    6. Electrical Engineering: 89% male
    7. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: 97% male
    8. Mechanical Engineering: 90% male
    9. Metallurgical Engineering: 83% male
    10. Mining and Mineral Engineering: 90% male

    And here are the 10 least remunerative majors—where women prevail in nine out of ten:

    1. Counseling Psychology: 74% female
    2. Early Childhood Education: 97% female
    3. Theology and Religious Vocations: 34% female
    4. Human Services and Community Organization: 81% female
    5. Social Work: 88% female
    6. Drama and Theater Arts: 60% female
    7. Studio Arts: 66% female
    8. Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: 94% female
    9. Visual and Performing Arts: 77% female
    10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: 55% female

    Much of the wage gap can be explained away by simply taking account of college majors. Early childhood educators and social workers can expect to earn around $36,000 and $39,000, respectively. By contrast, petroleum engineering and metallurgy degrees promise median earnings of $120,000 and $80,000. Not many aspiring early childhood educators would change course once they learn they can earn more in metallurgy or mining. The sexes, taken as a group, are somewhat different. Women, far more than men, appear to be drawn to jobs in the caring professions; and men are more likely to turn up in people-free zones. In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths.

    But here is the mystery. These and other differences in employment preferences and work-family choices have beenwidely studiedin recent years and are now documented in a mountain of solid empirical research. By now the President and his staff must be aware that the wage gap statistic has been demolished. This is not the first time theWashington Posthas alertedthe White House to the error. Why continue to use it? One possibility is that they have been taken in by the apologetics of groups like the National Organization for Women and the American Association of University Women. In its 2007 Behind the Pay Gap report, the AAUWadmitsthat most of the gap in earnings is explained by choices. But this admission is qualified: “Women’s personal choices are similarly fraught with inequities,” says the AAUW. It speaks of women being “pigeonholed” into “pink-collar” jobs in health and education.According to NOW, powerful sexist stereotypes “steer” women and men “toward different education, training, and career paths.”

    “Much of the wage gap can be explained away by simply taking account of college majors. In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths.”
    Have these groups noticed that American women are now among the most educated, autonomous, opportunity-rich women in history? Why not respect their choices? For the past few decades, untold millions of state and federal dollars have been devoted to recruiting young women into engineering and computer technology. It hasn’t worked. The percent of degrees awarded to women in fields like computer science and engineering has either stagnated or significantly decreased since 2000. (According to Department of Education data, in 2000, women earned 19 percent ofengineeringBA’s, and 28 percent incomputer science; by 2011, only 17 percent of engineering degrees were awarded to females, and the percent of female computer science degrees had dropped to 18.) All evidence suggests that though young women have the talent for engineering and computer science, their interest tends to lie elsewhere. To say that these women remain helplessly in thrall to sexist stereotypes, and manipulated into life choices by forces beyond their control, is divorced from reality—and demeaning to boot. If a woman wants to be a teacher rather than a miner, or a veterinarian rather than a petroleum engineer, more power to her.

    The White House should stop using women’s choices to construct a false claim about social inequality that is poisoning our gender debates. And if the President is truly persuaded that statistical pay disparities indicate invidious discrimination, then he should address the wage gap in his own backyard. Female staff at the White Houseearn 88 centson the dollar compared to men. Is there a White House war on women?
  2. You can see the counter argument coming - that the career choices of women are under-valued, and that this is the mechanism of discrimination. I'm not saying this argument is valid necessarily, but in some cases it might be.
  3. #3 Bravus, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
    Well, yes, exactly. Those tables of well paid jobs. Yeah, what they show is that jobs with lots of men in them pay well and jobs with lots of women in them don't. Nothing about their actual relative value to the economy and humanity...

    The Washington Post is a shocking right wing rag only slightly more credible than World Net Daily, and most of this 'fact check' turns on matters of perspective, not fact.

    Sorry, my polemic aside, what this article completely misses, either intentionally or obliviously, is that people choose careers, not salaries. But the salaries paid for the kinds of things women choose to do are lower than the salaries paid for the kinds of things men choose to do. And that's a gender gap.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. It's still not a valid statistic even then. Why? Because there will always be women who just want a job, rather than a career. A job until they have kids, a job to get by once they have kids.

    Then there is the fact even women that have careers, will take years out of the workforce to have kids. These women would have to get all the pay raises for the years they were away and be credited with experience they never had, for the pay to be equal.

    Now I think we shouldn't buy into these gender roles as much , when it comes to kids, but nevertheless, as we stand as a society, women can't mathematically earn the same as men. To attempt to make it equal you would have to discriminate against men and I think we already see a bit of that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. I've always wondered about that stat. Everywhere I've worked women have received the same pay rate as men for the same job.
  6. ibast: but the stat is not comparing lifetime earnings with gaps, it is comparing salaries for working people working full time in the same industries.

    There's a broader social issue about whether and how it's socially just for women to be bearing the costs of creating the next generation (in a situation where it's no longer possible to assume that, as a general thing, it's shared with a man), but that's probably too difficult for this discussion.

    I don't think I was arguing for perfect equality, defined as identical outcomes. I was just arguing against the poor logic and use of evidence in the OP, when it claims the issue doesn't exist. It clearly does... what we do about it is a much bigger question.
  7. Doesn't matter. It's an average.

    Let's consider a 45 year old women that has had 5 years off to have 2 or 3 kids. Does she deserve the same pay as a man who has worked through all 5 of those years? He's now got more experience and he is more up to date with current circumstances. To give her the same wage upon returning to work, is clearly unfair.

    The same thing does at the other end of the scale. Let's consider 25year olds. There are a lot of people just passing time in their job, but there is, on top of that, a percentage of women who are knowingly cruising until they have kids. Do these people deserve to advance as quickly as those that are more driven? Clearly not.
  8. I'd certainly be interested in seeing a better and more-nuanced analysis that took such factors into account: comparing people in the same industry with the same number of years of experience shouldn't be too difficult, although some of the other issues you raised are a bit more subjective and difficult to measure. I mean, there are also men who are just rocking up to work and have no desire to build a career and set the world on fire... and who put much more energy into extracurricular activities than work and so on. I think these immeasurables can end up boiling down to stereotyping.

    I'm happy to accept that the gap is probably not as large as its often painted to be, once some of these issues are taken into account. I'm yet to be convinced that (a) the gap is nonexistent or (b) the gap exists but is entirely just and appropriate.
  9. I remember a number of incidences in the 90s where women I knew were unfairly advanced, because companies were trying to address the gender imbalance. I don't see it as blatant these days.

    I would think, however, in my industry, it's fairly balanced with a slight bias towards women. It's a male dominated industry and competent women tend to stand out.
  10. #10 Incontinentia, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
    What rubbish. People wouldn't be paid whatever in patroleum engineering if they were not worth that much to the industry.
    Hahahahaha. What the article completely misses. My arse. That was the whole point of the article. Women choose careers with low salaries. That's all the gender gap is. Tell us another one.

    It clearly does... Name an industry where women are paid 24% less than men for the same work.

    What your argument boils down to is that women should be paid the same amount as men who are in high paying industries are getting paid. That is called communism. It is also brilliantly offensive to the women who chose to enter the higher paying industries and have down the work required to get to where they are.

    fcuking commies everywhere.

    Who gives a toss if it is right wing or left. It is clearly shows the rhetoric of a lower paid female workforce is; at best, of their own choosing, or at worst, utter bullshit.
    • Winner Winner x 1
  11. When you can't quite get to the gist of the argument, just shout 'commies!' :rolleyes:

    You take the salaries as being inevitable and set in stone. They're not.

    In some industries - child care and aged care are examples - pay is low because the employees in the field are mainly women. In other words, it is not so much that women choose jobs with low pay, it is that the jobs women tend to choose get paid less.

    Tell me you can at least comprehend the argument, if not agree with it.

    I did say that I'm ready and willing to look at better quality evidence, if this evidence is bad: feel free to present some. (Hint: shouting 'commies' isn't it)

    I don't anticipate getting any understanding from someone who so clearly has a massive bias: I'm writing for the lurkers.
  12. That's not what I got from Bravus' argument at all. He's just claiming that in the same industry they should get the same pay.

    And, I think that's fair, so long at they work as hard and have as much experience.
  13. Did someone call my name? :)

    I just thought I'd highlight the caveat. It speaks volumes.

    I accuse you of voluntarism. It also has the convenience of allowing you to deny the existence of those facts that count as social barriers to others.

    As for this debate, if you were interested in equality as the sine qua non of full social freedom (not that, Bravus aside, any of you seem to be, but if you were...) you'd be advocating absolute wage equality coupled with workers' self-management of industry as the only rational regime. Everything else is a species of parasitic authoritarianism.
  14. either you've missed the point or you are taking me out of context. My point was, unless the burden of child raising is exactly equal in all respects, equating women's wages to men's wages will always be a corrupt exercise.
  15. #15 Incontinentia, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
    What, as opposed to shouting 'right wing'?


    I see no hypocrasy here. Nothing to see at all...

    No I do not. But you can't escape the reality of they are what they are. That may change, it may not, but right now women are generally gaining qualifications for lower paid jobs than men are. Some may even dare to suggest they do that of their own desire.

    Tripe. If every woman who had the potential to become an engineer did, they would get the engineer rate of pay. All of a sudden the jobs women chose would be paid far better then the jobs women used to choose. As a consequence you may also find the lower paying jobs suddenly pay far better because there is a demand for workers. The reality is that wage and salary is largely free market based: if the demand is greater, the pay will increase with its value.

    The evidence is in the opening post. Not liking it doesn't make it bad.

    If you're not going to pretend to speak english, I'm not going to pretend to bother with a valid reply.
  16. I think it's as ridiculous and incompatible with the evidence to *either* suggest that all of the gap is due to discrimination or that none of it is. There have been other studies that, for example, sent out resumes identical except for female and male names, and more offers were made to the male names. Even the Wikipedia article on the gender pay gap gives a more nuanced and thoughtful approach than we've seen here.
  17. Actually read with your head switched on please.

    You seem surprised that an encyclopaedic entry is more thorough then a newspaper article...
  18. Right. Here's the quote from the WaPo article that you are quoting:

    “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”

    Which is all I've been saying all along. Simplistic claim is simplistic.
  19. #20 ogden, Apr 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2014
    It wasn't intended as a dig at you or what you said. I was just drawing attention to the way in which the argument is taking place in a highly circumscribed way: the "all other things being equal" counting for rather a lot. :)

    For someone who likes dabbling in contentious (frequently bullshit) arguments, you're amazingly thin skinned. But I do enjoy the lack on logic in your posts. Keep up the good work, tiger.
    • Like Like x 1