April 19 2011

IWF in the News: Wage-Gap Myth

Carrie L. Lukas

The feminist National Committee for Pay Equity perpetuates a notion that data and common sense increasingly reveal as a myth: Women earn just 77 percent of what men earn for equal work.

Carrie Lukas, Independent Women's Forum executive director, wonders in a Wall Street Journal op-ed whether the committee was relatively quiet about its April 12 Equal Pay Day -- when women supposedly caught up to what men earned last year -- because the recession "has exposed as ridiculous their claims that our economy is ruled by a sexist patriarchy." Consider her myth-busting facts:

• With male-dominated fields hit harder, more men than women have quit looking for jobs and men's unemployment rate consistently exceeds women's.

• The Labor Department says men work longer than women at full-time jobs. Men thus make more, explaining about a third of the "wage gap."

• Women more often trade lower pay for better working conditions. • The myth doesn't hold when circumstances are similar. Women earned 8 percent more in a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers ages 22 to 30.

Ms. Lukas is right: Men and women -- and their job choices, which affect pay -- are different. It's time for feminists to admit that -- and stop repeating the wage-gap myth.

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