April 9 2013

Straight talk about the wage gap

The Hill

Sabrina Schaeffer

Today, feminist groups and their allies in the White House and Congress will celebrate “Equal Pay Day,” a made-up holiday aimed at focusing attention on the so-called "wage gap," the notion that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Of course we know that this is a gross exaggeration. This number comes from comparing full-time working women to full-time working men with no consideration for education, career choices, job markets or even time spent out of the workplace.

More and more research shows that women’s and men’s choices — everything from college major to where they choose to live and work — impact their earning potential. And when you compare for any number of these variables, the wage gap shrinks dramatically, to about 96 cents. Sexism and discrimination may explain a portion of this remaining gap, but so does the tendency of women not to negotiate, for example.

In an effort to have an honest conversation about the wage gap, the Independent Women’s Forum released a video this week titled "Straight Talk About the Wage Gap" to help set the record straight about this much-repeated statistic

Most importantly, the group hopes to emphasize all the good news that is out there for women and girls today: Women are outpacing men educationally, soaring to the top of nearly every professional field, are the leading consumers of everything from groceries to cars, and are increasingly becoming the breadwinners in the family.

Especially today, on Equal Pay Day, let’s not let the alarmists, traditional women’s groups and our lawmakers in Washington paint society and the workplace as hostile toward women and girls.

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