What’s a “Wage Gap?”

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Monday, March 5, 2018


‘Equality’ is a loaded term in today’s world, but simple in execution. Equality can be defined as the state of being the same, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Laws and policies are in place to ensure equality. This includes equal opportunity and equal compensation.

Earlier this year, the Women’s March stole the spotlight, as men and women from across the country marched for so called “women’s rights.” The theme this year seemed to be attacking President Trump for his apparent bigotry and sexism. Meanwhile, members of his administration like Sarah Sanders, Nikki Haley, and Kellyanne Conway are thriving. While the march wasn’t just to attack Trump, the women sporting “pussyhats” were marching for a reason that, well, doesn’t even exist: the wage gap.

Ah yes, the idea that for some unknown reason, women apparently get paid less in this country than their male counterparts. I could end the article right here by mentioning The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which states:

No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex: Provided that an employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of this subsection shall not, in order to comply with the provisions of this subsection, reduce the wage rate of any employee.

Even though this is the law of the land, let’s continue unpacking this belief that there’s a wage gap.

Firstly, the idea that a woman is getting paid less because of her gender is absurd. Those who firmly believe in the wage gap claim that for the same job “women make X amount on the dollar compared with men.” Many who believe in this fantasy fail to bring any meaningful facts to their argument. They simply repeat this falsehood ad nauseum until they truly believe it, but never bother to check actual statistics on the subject. Like many debates across the political spectrum, being emotionally driven is extremely toxic and usually doesn’t lead to an “agree to disagree” end.

Now, for some statistics.

For starters, it should be noted that the apparent wage gap figure that is thrown around by those advocating for “equal pay” is simply an earnings discrepancy. What these graphics show is that women dominate the areas of work that simply don’t pay well like childcare workers, secretaries and auditing clerks, while men dominate occupations that pay very well, like engineers and lawyers. This is one of the biggest reasons for the “wage gap.”  

What’s even more telling, and what furthers the argument that the wage gap doesn’t exist, is the percentage of men and women enrolled in college or university. Federal data shows that over 50 percent of those enrolled in a college or university are female. In 2018, this data set shows that almost 60% of post-secondary attendees are women. So even though women make up the majority of college attendees, they tend to gravitate toward lower-paying careers, while men tend to gravitate toward higher-paying careers. One might also be inclined to think that men are better at math and science than women, and therefore gravitate towards engineering, for example. This isn’t actually true as studies show that men and women score equally on math and science. The interesting difference is that women always score much higher on verbal and language skills than men, and also tend to report enjoying language and humanities more. So women choose to enter the non-science fields far more than men, even though they could just as easily choose the sciences.

Another significant reason for the earnings discrepancy is that the vast majority of families are still organized according to traditional gender roles. This means that a woman can easily have a 10 year hiatus in her career where she is at home. When her kids are a bit older and she resumes her career again, she has lost many years while her male counterparts were consistently in the workforce, possibly being promoted. Leaving the workforce and then having to play catch-up is a major contributor to this earning discrepancy.

Lastly, women in the workplace tend to be less assertive when it comes to demanding a raise. Studies show that men are far more assertive and routinely demand the raise they think they deserve, even if they don’t. This is possibly due to women’s nurturing nature, and tendency to be peacemakers, instead of conflict seekers.

When one actually looks at the facts, one sees that there is no such thing as a “wage gap.” This is a fictional term created by those who believe women inherently get paid less than men because they are women.

The only income difference present in the United States is the earnings gap. Men do earn more money than women, but this does not mean that women are deliberately getting paid less money. To say so is a facile argument that doesn’t take into account a myriad of complex rationale.

Women are the cornerstone of our society. Without women, our nation would be crumbling before us. Their roles at home and in the workforce are crucial in preserving the purpose behind our nation, and we should thank them daily.

During his 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney and his staff nailed it with this simple phrase: “Moms drive the economy.”

 

Lou Scataglia is a Waynesburg University graduate where he studied accounting and finance. His hobbies include bowling and working out. When he's not doing those, he is talking NFL football and enjoys watching his beloved Denver Broncos.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Lou Scataglia

Waynesburg University

Lou Scataglia is a Waynesburg University graduate where he studied accounting and finance. His hobbies include bowling and working out. When he's not doing those, he is talking NFL football and enjoys watching his beloved Denver Broncos.

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