April 12 2011
Lukas: The Fallacy of Equal Pay Day
Congratulations to IWF's Carrie Lukas, whose Wall Street Journal article on Equal Pay Day-that's today-was the hot topic on MSNBC's Morning Joe earlier today!
Equal Pay Day falls on April 12 because that is how far into the year organizations such as the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority claim a woman has to work before her pay is equal to that of her male counterpart. Carrie explains that having a liberal-dominated government has taken some of the oomph out of this year's festivities:
In years past, feminist leaders marked the occasion by rallying outside the U.S. Capitol to decry the pernicious wage gap and call for government action to address systematic discrimination against women. This year will be relatively quiet. Perhaps feminists feel awkward protesting a liberal-dominated government-or perhaps they know that the recent economic downturn has exposed as ridiculous their claims that our economy is ruled by a sexist patriarchy.
The real problem for feminists, however, is that their beloved wage gap is built on faulty analysis:
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.
Carrie notes that recent studies show that the so-called gap has not only contracted but in some cases has been reversed. But the phony wage gap is something that feminists refuse to relinquish. But I think this puts them at odds with the mainstream:
Few Americans see the economy as a battle between the sexes. They want opportunity to abound so that men and women can find satisfying work situations that meet their unique needs. That-not a day dedicated to manufactured feminist grievances-would be something to celebrate.