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April 8 2019

Majority of Americans Call Wage Gap Coverage “Fake News” or Worse

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

With this week’s Equal Pay Day in our rear-view mirror, there was no dearth of coverage about the pay gap and how it’s driven by gender discrimination that is fixed with one-size-fits-all legislation.

Americans aren’t buying that story and they shouldn’t. They pay gap is driven by choices men and women make in the workplace. If only the media would rightly report it that way.

According to survey results by SurveyMonkey released recently, 59 percent of Americans say that reports about the pay gap are “overblown” (26 percent), “Fake News” (16 percent) or “politically correct” (17 percent).

Nearly half of women (48 percent total) view media reports this way compared to 70 percent of men.

Just one-third of Americans overall think coverage is “appropriate” while nearly another third (29 percent) say it’s incomplete.

Perhaps the missing information is the impact of factors such as hours worked, education, industry, title, seniority, the dangerousness of the job, and more which shrinks the pay gap from 18 cents to a few cents according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The media is complicit with left-leaning activists and lawmakers in peddling a victimhood narrative about women in the workplace.

They use the pay gap as evidence that men and women are not treated equally.

Ironically, Americans don’t need the spin. Two out of three women (67 percent) and half of men (50 percent) say that the pay gap is a legitimate issue compared to the 30 percent and 46 percent who say it’s made up to serve a political purpose.

However, when asked about the pay gap in their workplace, across all demographics (including age and race), strong majorities say they see no difference in how much men and women earn.

The truth about the pay gap is that it is driven by the choices men and women make from how many hours to work to what job track to pursue.

The left would have us believe that it’s really about gender discrimination or the patriarchy trying to hold women back.

They want legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act to end the discrimination, but it won’t work for two reasons: 1. Pay discrimination is already illegal in the United States. 2. The pay gap is driven by choice more than discrimination.

At the end of the day, we have to recognize and accept that women may care more about maximizing flexibility than earnings. She may choose to pursue a job that has more flexible hours or less management responsibility. She may be more interested in non-STEM careers even if they carry small paychecks.

A one-size-fits-all solution is not what’s needed to improve women’s earnings but to be empowered with information and then let her decide.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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