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January 12, 2005

Debunking "Equal Pay For Equal Work"

Heh... I wrote about this over on Jet Noise earlier this year, but it never hurts to give the old horseflesh a few more whacks:

For years, the Gender Warriors have been on the war path over this issue. Their argument is simple: On average, female employees receive 76 cents for every one dollar paid to male workers. And that difference equals discrimination.

It's time to blow the whistle on that nonsense. And a just-released book by Warren Farrell does exactly that. Why Men Earn More is chock-full of government wage data and research findings which show the feminist-driven "pay gap" is an ideological con-job.

First, the sheer amount of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time men clock an average of 45 hours a week, while women put in 42 hours. Men are more than twice as likely as women to work at least 50 hours a week - that's why most CEOs are male.

Only in a socialist economy do employees get paid the same, regardless of the number of hours worked.

Second, men tend to gravitate to the socially-unrewarding but lucrative fields like computer programming, tax law, and engineering. And women select professions such as teaching, nursing, and social work that pay less, but offer more job flexibility.

Third is job desirability. Recently the Jobs Rated Almanac rated 250 jobs based on income, work environment, physical demands, stress, and so forth. These were the five worst jobs: seaman, ironworker, cowboy, fisherman, and lumberjack.

Does it come as a surprise that all of these jobs are male-dominated? The only way these companies can attract men to do the dirty work is to increase their paychecks.

Finally is the difference in job hazards. Men represent 92% of all occupational deaths. Why? Because if you look at a list of the most hazardous occupations - fire fighting, truck driving, construction, and mining - they have 96-98% male employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Shouldn't men who risk their lives on a daily basis be paid something extra?

Case in point: I'm fairly well-paid by female standards (especially when you consider how long I've been working), but I intentionally chose a male-dominated technical field. It also wasn't my first choice. I chose it for its earning potential - so I could maximize my wages while putting my two sons through college.

I also work longer hours than most of my friends. It's all about trade-offs.

The bottom line is that you can't simply look at the numbers without also looking at the qualitative factors that influence womens' wages. Women make decisions that impact our earning ability - we trade free time for money, autonomy for promotion, the ability to have children for a stable career pattern.

And personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's called freedom of choice: no one is forcing those decisions on me.

Posted by Cassandra at January 12, 2005 10:12 AM

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Men who make career decisions based on the needs of their family, and not just become Workaholics for their employer, also face career and compensation limitations. These are probably more apparent for women as they have at least in the past, more often than not, been the ones to sacrifice career for family.

Posted by: Rodney Dill at January 12, 2005 10:49 AM

That you believe you make decisions "of your own free will" that are different from men only shows the extent of your brainwashing by the misogonystic oppressors of womyn who have realized the best way to keep you in prison is to create a prison that you can not see, nor touch, nor smell. A prison for your mind. Unfortunatly, no one can be told what the matrix is except by a adjust professor of lesbian studies.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at January 12, 2005 11:02 AM

Aw nuts.

I am a stay at home mom who gets to whine about oppression all the time.

However, I can't figger out for the life of me what it is I need to be upset about.

Oh. Here it is: I CHOSE to stay at home. I like being a foodie and keeping house and being with my kids (that'll put the troll's knickers in a twist!)and being there for my husband. What do I do for me?

Heh. Get on the computer and bug the helk out of Cass.

Seriously, being at home right now is what I want to do and I have some dang good fringe benefits.

Of course, that feminist Cass has it all.

As she should. She made the right choices and WORKED HARD and it has paid off.

I do not begrudge that to any woman who has accomplished what she has and who managed to keep her eyes on her goals. That is about as equal as it can get.

Cass, you and my mom are the role models I would choose in teaching my daughter about careers.
It pays to get an education. It doesn't hurt to work outside the home.

And I will tell the troll this: I don't need to be headshrunk. I am perfectly happy being here for those I love and who love me. And by the time I am finished with my degree, my kids will be able to go to college and I will be able to help with that.

Not a bad thing.

Good post, Cass.

Posted by: Cricket at January 12, 2005 11:24 AM

An excerpt from a great article by Mary Katharine Ham.

"Looks like this DNC thing really is the next train out of Oppressionville. Here’s another way they’re going to help me: 'We believe a day's work is worth a day's pay, and at a time when women still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, we need stronger equal pay laws and stronger enforcement of them.'

Now, I can understand that because I’m just a girl, the DNC would figure I’d take this statistic from them without question, but it turns out I can Google with the best of them, men or women. This figure comes from a 2002 census survey, which compared the yearly median earnings figure of full-time working women to the median figure for men. So the census folks took two lists that include everything from burger-flippers to CEOs, stuck a pin in the middle of each list, compared them, and that’s supposed to determine equal pay for equal work? If women really do offer equal work for 23 cents less on the dollar, why does anyone bother hiring men?"

You can read the whole thing at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/GuestColumns/Ham20040907.shtml

Posted by: Lisa at January 12, 2005 12:27 PM


Interesting that in college we called your next to last paragraph the basics of Econ 101.

Posted by: RIslander [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2005 12:39 PM

Because despite what liberals think, to capitalists oppressing women is more important than profits. duh! :-)

Posted by: Masked Menace© at January 12, 2005 12:42 PM

Interesting that in college we called your next to last paragraph the basics of Econ 101. - RIslander

You mean we still allow Econ to be taught? How can we ever achieve equality as long as capitalism is taught in our intitutions of higher learning?

Posted by: Masked Menace© at January 12, 2005 12:44 PM

"If women really do offer equal work for 23 cents less on the dollar, why does anyone bother hiring men?"

Whoever you are, you are being too clever and logical :) I will hire you tomorrow!

I like that. Keep it up.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 12, 2005 12:50 PM

When I was a young lady, women represented an even smaller part of the professional, higher paying workforce. Thus, educated women tended to become teachers and nurses rather than attorneys, doctors or engineers. Like a high percentage of my few intellectual peers, I chose teaching as a profession. My salary has never been that large, but that in no way diminishes the joy I receive from watching the spirit, optimism and self esteem of my students crushed by the weight of my tenacious criticism.

Posted by: Mrs. Tingle at January 12, 2005 01:07 PM

I recently read an article complaining that, in Hollywood, the butts on ugly fat women make less than the butts of hot, beautiful women. This may not be true in Chicago, however, were Oprah works. Anyway, I do not think it is unfair that I make more than other butts. You could serve a drink and bounce a quarter off of me. I deserve that money.

Posted by: J-Lo's Butt at January 12, 2005 01:17 PM

Thank you for the job offer, Dan, but alas, I cannot take credit for that brillant observation. That belongs to Ms. Ham. :)

Posted by: Lisa at January 12, 2005 01:38 PM

My salary has never been that large, but that in no way diminishes the joy I receive from watching the spirit, optimism and self esteem of my students crushed by the weight of my tenacious criticism.

You just gotta love the education system

Posted by: Rodney Dill at January 12, 2005 01:52 PM

THAT'S DON! Not Dan (rather not!).

As in Donald Trump, "You're fired!"
Still funny comeback, though. Hang around.

Posted by: DON Brouhaha at January 12, 2005 02:39 PM

That is an abservation worthy of Cassandra.
You see, I don't work with stats. However,
I know that when Cassandra puts it up there,
and people like you come along and on your
own make the point, I know that for me, it
makes following certain blogs worthwhile.

Excellent comment.

Posted by: Cricket at January 12, 2005 02:40 PM

Do you think it is easy for me? It takes a lot work to maintain my figure so that I can go out there and work to support JLo. She brings little to this team - there are lots of pretty smiles and relatively nice but normal bussoms, but a butt like me is a rare commodity in Hollywood. Her lifestyle isn't exactly cheap either. I need to earn a lot to keep her happy and still have a soft place on which to sit every now and then. But hey, I'm stuck with JLo as my partner. It could be worse - I could be Courtney Love's butt.

Posted by: J-Lo's Butt at January 12, 2005 02:53 PM

Sorry, Don. :)

Posted by: Lisa at January 12, 2005 03:07 PM

Well, as JLo's other cheek, I am total accord with
this, as well as the fact that we DO get paid more
than say, Russell Crowe's butt. How's THAT for gender equality!

Posted by: JLo's butt turns the other cheek at January 12, 2005 05:40 PM

Look, buoys and gels, it never was about "equal pay for equal work". It's about adopting a slogan no one can argue with in order to legitimize a much less benign agenda.

So far it's working.

Posted by: MrsPurpleRaider at January 12, 2005 06:06 PM

Man is more gooder more smarter an more stronger than woman
Man should get many more trinkets for days work
Woman should make food keep clean house and kiddies and please man
Womans place is behind man, about 3 steps
Man important. woman is property.

Posted by: Osama - Bush at January 12, 2005 09:32 PM

I thought you might like that :)

Posted by: Osama - Bush at January 12, 2005 09:34 PM


Posted by: Joatmoaf at January 12, 2005 09:34 PM


It appears that women are utility maximizers, just like men. The difference: they get utility from different things and make different trade-offs, as you pointed out.

Posted by: Robert Prather at January 12, 2005 10:52 PM

I think women vote that way too. They typically vote for "security" which typically means less freedom. Men vote more for freedom, with more risk. I do not thank women on this front.

Posted by: Insensitive But True Pig at January 12, 2005 10:56 PM

I quit a high-paying job to stay home with my lads, like Cricket. Sometimes I'd see women in business suits with children in tow, heading off to day care, and I'd miss the business suit and the fact that with a paying job, you at least know when you are done (unless you are on call for a cobbled-up bunch of accounting programs for a large oil company, not to be named here. In that case you may be called in the middle of the night and told by the operator that, in effect, the stewardess is flying the 747).

With mothering, your job follows you around the house, rides with you in the car, accompanies you into the bathroom, is the work you take with you on "vacation", and requires brain cells to snap instantly into action when confronted with croup at midnight, or a nose bleeing like a stuck pig at 2 am.

People would ask me why an intelligent woman would want to stay at home talking baby-talk all day. I got a call from a headhunter offering me a contract at NASA when my first was only about a week old, and he told me I could get a nanny for the baby. At the beginning it made me feel like I was missing something.

As time passed, I decided that if I was to choose a nanny for my son, I'd want an intelligent woman interacting with him, teaching him, responding to opportunities for "quality time" whenever they occurred. I'd want someone who would drop what she was doing and sit on the floor stacking blocks, or when my son came crawling with one of his books in his hand, she would sit and read it to him, in a way that encouraged his interaction and would elicit giggles and laughs. I'd want someone who would take note of all the little changes and advances made by my son, and savor and remember them. I realized that this woman would be someone I could not afford. And I realized that I had all that, in me.

Posted by: MathMom at January 13, 2005 09:05 AM

Well said, Mathmom! How are things going in your neck of the woods? All is well?

Posted by: Cricket at January 13, 2005 10:26 AM

Hi Cricket -

Thanks for asking, but are going very poorly here. Still, I read the posts when I can, and occasionally something touches a nerve and I must respond. Your experience and mine seem very similar, and similarly personally rewarding.

Keep studying!

Posted by: MathMom at January 13, 2005 11:55 AM

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