February 3 2014
Christina Hoff Sommers has a must-read piece over at The Daily Beast debunking the “bogus statistic that won’t die”—yes, the 77-cents on the dollar gender wage gap that President Obama cited in his State of the Union address.
The figure has been repeatedly discredited (by among others the Independent Women’s Forum, Hoff Sommers, feminist writer Hanna Rosin, and the US Department of Labor). Even the Washington Post took note of the president’s use of this outmoded factoid:
But here is the mystery. These and other differences in employment preferences and work-family choices have been widely studied in 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 the Washington Post has alerted the 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 AAUW admits that 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.”. ..
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 House earn 88 cents on the dollar compared to men. Is there a White House war on women?
I urge you to read this entire article.