Researching details regarding the ostensible discrepancy in pay between men and women, (the causes, supposed causes, discrimination or life choices that may or may not exist) is an undertaking in the mold of brushing one’s cat. You may be able to smooth things out but the excess fluff just keeps on coming. For every source claiming undeniable discrimination in the workplace, a mirror explanation provides evidence that such discrimination is a myth. There are in-depth examples of differing views on this issue. It is interesting to note that the same stats regarding employment numbers and pay exist for both sides and that it is the interpretation of those stats that result in one opinion or another. Both articles use info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics..
Progressive sources such as Think Progress unwaveringly see pay discrimination in almost every field. Flying in the face of identical education and job title, women are still making less than their male counterparts. While some of the discrepancy can be explained due to career breaks to raise families, the progressive side, despite any specific convincing evidence, still sees discrimination as a pivotal factor. “There is still more than 40 percent of it that remains unexplained, the part that COULD be chalked up to discrimination.” Discrimination can be tough to prove but nevertheless, the onus is on the accuser. It is not enough to claim that discrimination cannot be disproven and is a de facto reality. This is a trademark tactic of such progressive outlets: make noncommittal and unspecific accusations against a group without pointing to the guilty individuals who make up that group. (See the accusations of racism against republicans)
“The interest I have to believe a thing is no proof that such a thing exists.”-Voltaire
The Wall Street Journal (conservative on its editorial pages) proposes the opposite. The frequently cited “77 cents to every dollar” that women make is a pervasive myth that fails to take very gender specific differences into account when looking at disparity of income. According to the WSJ “every “full-time” worker, as the BLS notes, is not the same: Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings.” Also considered are consecutive years working, taking not time off for family. “Single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012.” This finding virtually eradicates any pay discrepancy, though admittedly, not completely and I found no other explanation for the remaining 4%, which does leave for the possibility for limited yet unproven discrimination.
The myth exposers are undoubtedly in support of business and in favor of free-market based solutions to issues regarding employee pay and requirements placed upon businesses. Their bias is based on a vision of limited government when it comes to interference in business practices. However, on this issue, this side possesses a desire to deal with the evidence and argue head-on about the specious claims of discrimination as a driver of the discrepancies in pay between the genders.
The progressive side of this “controversy” seeks to push an agenda, not merely expose an injustice and right a wrong. There is a deep desire to promote the cause of social justice, using the argument of pay discrepancy as a tool to that end. The progressive view places more demands onto employers while emphasizing unjustifiable rights for workers. It reinforces the narrative that only further involvement by government can enforce the social justice so desperately needed in our unjust society.
Proponents of social justice view both employment and having a family as rights regardless of potentially conflicting goals or demands placed upon others. Supposedly, people have the “right” to work, take paid-time off from work in order to have children and return to work without suffering repercussions for the absence. These “rights” support the chosen family lifestyle of employees at the expense of the business and employer. This is exactly why they cannot be rights.
Maternity leave, health benefits and 401k plans are wonderful incentives to offer employees. They may even be essential in order to keep up with the competition in a given field. Regardless, these options are based upon an agreement between the employer and employee. No person ever has a right to compel action from another, in this case the time and pay of the employer. That is slavery, not fair trade.
The proponents of social justice also possess a trait that the conservative position does not: a belief in the ubiquitous discrimination of our society and a desire to keep it alive. The objective is to vilify the supposed enemies of a differing ideology in order to create perpetual victims, who will cast votes based upon fear and the promise of social justice by a benevolent and all powerful state. Ergo, there exists no fear to instill without the underlying discrimination.
The ulterior motivations are evidenced by: discounting the progress made by women in education and the workplace. Unwarranted claims of racism against those with opposing views that conveniently avoid recognition of the progress made by minorities and women (and the failed social programs designed to help those in poverty). And the focus of discrimination in the USA while mounting no criticism of gender discrimination in the middle east.
The evidence presents a compelling case for the argument based in common sense that no matter what big government types try to do, there will be naturally created differences between the genders. I see reasons to be proud and optimistic for the future. The USA has struggled and seen a remarkable increase in the opportunities gained by women, in a relatively short amount of time, considering the status of women in general for the entirety of human history. This nation has been a beacon of hope for the downtrodden of either gender. It continues to expand on the promise that work, ambition and skill will lead to success. Content of character is the driving force in finding good friends, partners and employees…of either gender.
A final thought:
If, for whatever reason, men are paid more than women for the same work in the same career field while possessing identical credentials and education, businesses could save a remarkable amount of money in the short run by hiring only women. However, if this were true, unemployment for women would plummet, offering a free market solution to the issue of pay inequality. As demand increases to hire females, the supply will decrease inversely increasing the requisite salary to hire a woman. Therefore, if allowed to self correct, the market could adjust any remaining inequality.