Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Wage Gap: a lack of common cents?

The Wisconsin Women's Council released a study on April 22 (Earth Day) called "Mind the Gap! Women, Wages and the Pay Gap in Wisconsin." It alleges that women make about 77 cents for every dollar made by a man. The report's evidence lies in the median wages earned by men and women.

At first glance, it's easy to get into a lather about it ... to the point of, say, standing on street corners with placards touting "equal pay" legislation.

But there's a glaring omission from the WWC's "report," an accounting for the types of jobs surveyed. I checked with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found men to grossly outnumber women in higher-paying fields, and conversely women to grossly outnumber men in lower-paying, support- or service-oriented fields (p. 8). I'm no mathematician, but it wouldn't seem hard to come up with this 77-cent disparity if one were to simply gloss over the job titles.

In fact, the WWC is missing an important point on this. Despite the report's willful ignorance, this alleged "wage gap" has shrunk a great deal over the past 30-plus years; from about 62 percent to near 80 today. While women do predominantly populate lower-paying jobs, this closing gap would mean there are far more women in higher-paying fields. The Feministas should be CELEBRATING THAT instead of crying about this manufactured outrage.
Secondly, even the BLS' own report on women and earnings shows that men are punished far more severely, in terms of relationship to median wage, than are women (p. 5).

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