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June 10 2013

More on IWF's Morning on the Hill...

Charlotte Hays

We IWF staff members had a great time this morning at Union Station, where we gave out reading material and donuts to the early rush-hour crowd.  

Today, as Hadley has noted, is the fiftieth anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. We felt it was important to mark the milestone with some truth telling—and of course those donuts.

We American women have unparalleled opportunities. More than half the undergraduate degrees given by American colleges and universities go to women. Companies go out of their way to recruit us. This is a great time to be a woman. In fact, the real concern now is that boys are being slighted!

That’s something a lot of women’s groups, advocates of government expansion more than anything else, refuse to accept. Ms. Magazine, for example, celebrated today with a blog post claiming that “on the anniversary of the historical legislation, women continue to face substantial pay inequality in the workforce.”

Let’s be charitable and assume that our busy friends at Ms. missed the recent Pew Research report on women who earn more than their husbands. But the American Association of University Women has no excuse: the AAUW is peddling the notion that women earn 82 cents on the dollar to what a man earns. But if you look at the data in the AAUW study on which this is supposedly based, it just ain’t so.

When the AAUW’s wage-gap study was released, IWF’s Carrie Lukas said this:

"The headline of the new AAUW study on the differences between men and women’s earnings after college could have been, “Study Confirms Men and Women’s Choices Drive Differences in Pay.”  Alas, you have to read well into the report summary and most of the news stories to get to this key finding.

"Yes, a wage gap persists even among new grads.  But when the choice or major, hours worked, and career choices are taken into account, the wage gap shrinks to 6.6 percent.  That 6.6 percent is “unexplained.”  Discrimination could play a role in that gap, but so could other factors.  For example, as the AAUW discusses, differences in men and women’s willingness to negotiate their salaries could play a role.

"At a minimum, the AAUW and the politicians who use the “pernicious wage gap” to call for more government intervention into compensation practices should begin with the 6.6 percent “unexplained gap” statistic, instead of misleading the public by suggesting that an apples-to-apples comparison yields a 18 or 23 percent unexplained gap."

It is very important to combat disinformation such as this. Women benefit when they have a thriving economy that provides choices, not when organizations such as the AAUW advocate for bigger government. So that is why we got out in the drizzle this morning—to tell you some things that many women’s groups, seeing little reason to exist beyond lobbying government for more and more regulation, won’t tell you.

If you weren’t walking through Union Station this morning, here’s what we handed out:

*A link to an IWF video entitled “Straight Talk about the Wage Gap”

* A fact sheet on the wage gap

* A celebration of the “Rainbow of Choices” women have

* A “Dear Daughter” letter debunking the notion that women can’t get ahead because of gender  

 Sorry if you missed the donuts, but the reading matter is well worth printing out and giving to your daughter or some other young woman who needs the facts to make her decisions accordingly.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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