There are lies, damn lies, and then statistics. It is technically true that a wage gap exists in the United States. If we examine in aggregate the wages of women overall and those of men, women on average make approximately 3/4 of what a man makes. Feminists, liberals, and anyone looking to rally votes on the left has latched on to this statistic and inferred that therefore there is a structural bias or a patriarchy and this is why the pay gap exists. Calls for legislation demanding equal pay abound, but the actual reason for this pay gap is not sexism.
The left finds itself in a conundrum with this one. If it were true that companies place profits over people, then giving a company a surefire way to save 25% on fixed operating costs seems like a no-brainer right? Fire all your men, only hire women and save a ton of money. Kristen Bell and Huffington Post made an ironic video about this:
In doing this, however, they didn’t realize they were defeating their own argument. Companies don’t do this because when we control for other variables and make apples to apples comparisons, it turns out women make the same amount as men (and in some cases more).
Just like every other product in the marketplace, there are industry standards of price. If I told you I bought a car for $10,000, you already have a type of car in your mind, and if I told you I bought a house for $1 million, you have an idea of what that house looks like (in your area). Markets set prices for goods. Producers want to charge as much as possible, and consumers want to pay as little as possible, the producer that answers customer needs best is rewarded with lots of business. Wages operate on the same principle. A director or Vice President is paid a lot more than an office assistant, and a GOOD VP is worth even more. If you as a company attempt to pay someone with VP experience minimum wage, that person is very unlikely to take the job because their labor is worth more…or should I say, the PRICE of their labor is higher.
Then why is it technically true that in aggregate, women’s pay is lower? Well, one other feminist cause is to increase female participation in STEM fields. Women tend to gravitate towards industries that pay less like social work and teaching and are less interested in engineering and computer programming. It’s just how we are wired differently. It’s also the same reason men gravitate towards more dangerous jobs like police and firemen, or dirtier jobs like farming and plumbing. Women are less likely to place their career above their family and more likely to stay at home. This doesn’t mean that one behavior is better than the other, it just means that we have different desires and goals, and that’s ok.
No matter how you look at it, and no matter over time, women have different preferences than men, and those preferences drive them towards lower paying fields.
The pay gap is playing with statistics. It’s false and needs to go away because people are now asking politicians to get involved and create laws for “equal pay.” Giving the government the ability to monitor what a company pays employees and then determine whether something is “fair” is a terrible idea. Imagine government agents rifling through your HR files and interviewing people in your workplace. Imagine that power given to someone who disagrees with you politically or doesn’t like your company. Imagine Donald Trump sending his “fair pay enforcement agency” to harass Planned Parenthood or Huffington Post. You don’t want this agency based on a myth.