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April 18 2016

Clarification on What the Wage Gap Is... And Isn't

Hadley Heath

The responses to my recent op-ed in the Denver Post (“On Equal Pay Day, choosing job flexibility over closing the wage gap) prompt a few clarifications:

It is a common misperception that the wage gap represents an apples-to-apples comparison of men and women workers. This is inaccurate: The calculation does not compare women and men in the same profession who work the same hours, “with the same qualifications, experience and talent.”  

When economists attempt to correct for these variables, they find the wage gap shrinks to a few percentage points. As a Department of Labor report found, “The raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

My op-ed was not about a choice between flexibility and “fair pay,” but about personal choices and tradeoffs. I’m thankful to have these choices, and want to preserve and expand maximum freedom and prosperity for all people.

IWF supports changes that would help women in the workplace, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is misguided. Readers can see IWF’s suggestions at www.workingforwomenreport.com.

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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