Home / Blog / Article


April 9 2018

Equal Pay Day Overlooks Other Interesting Gender Gaps in the Workplace

by Charlotte Hays

Equal Pay Day is tomorrow.

The date varies from year to year and supposedly marks how long into the year women must work to catch up with men in terms of what they are paid.

There are statistical problems with Equal Pay Day. The editors of Investor's Business Daily hit on several this morning:

Of course, the claim that this gap is due to gender discrimination has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. Economists have pointed out for years that when you control for things like career choices, job risks, actual hours worked, etc., the supposed gap disappears.

There's also a common-sense problem with the pay-gap claim. Namely, if businesses could get away with paying women less for the exact same work, why would they hire men in the first place? Are we really to assume that business owners' hatred of women exceeds their greed?

The theory behind Equal Pay Day, as AEI's Mark Perry notes, is that "blatant, widespread and illegal gender discrimination in the labor market is one of the main reasons for the gender pay gap, which can only be corrected with increased regulatory action and equal pay legislation at the federal and state levels."

Perry finds some other factors that have nothing to do with gender discrimination and yet affect pay. Men, for example, seem to be willing to endure longer commutes to the job--17.4 minutes for women as opposed to 25.3 minutes for men.

Mightn't these numbers indicate that men and women make different choices that can have an effect on earnings? Maybe women are more inclined to reject longer commutes, and, if so, what's wrong with that? It's a free choice.

Perry also found that women opt for safer jobs. Investor's Business Daily, using Perry's research, broke down the numbers on certain dangerous jobs. Here is how male-dominated certain lines of work are:

  1. Logging: 94.9%.
  2. Fishing: 99.9%.
  3. Pilots: 94.8%.
  4. Roofers: 98.3.
  5. Garbage collectors: 91.4%.

Looking at these male-dominated fields, IBD asks:

Is this because women are wrongfully being denied these jobs?

Of course not. It's because men and women make different choices. And we're cool with that.

We're women here at IWF. We want women to be paid fairly. We want to be paid fairly!

What we don't want is for a debunked gender wage gap, allegedly based on gender discrimination, to be usedas a rationale for further federal intrusion into the workplace.

We particularly don't want this to happen at a time of unparalleled opportunities for American women.

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.
Follow us