Author: Michael Bove
Just a few days ago, I sat down at my desk and opened my laptop to Safari and landed on Google.com to finish some homework. As I was typing in the website on Google’s search something caught my eye at the bottom of the search bar. There was a small banner that read “Google supports equal pay #20PercentCounts.” I paused for a moment and decided to look into what issue Google was seeking to raise awareness about. Sure enough, it was the old, disproven notion that women make 20% less for the same job that men perform. In this age of information, where almost every American has some form of access to the internet, I am baffled by the fact that many on the political left continue to perpetuate this blatantly false idea.
For those who are unaware, the crux of their argument rests on a study which found that women make 20-25% less than their male counterparts. However, that study only compared the total earnings of men to the total earnings of women. It’s a simple calculation that leads to a completely misleading conclusion. This figure does not take into account the differences in education, position, hours worked per week, or a number of other key factors. As it turns out, women are statistically more likely to work in fields that pay less than the fields that men tend to work in.
A study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that men outnumber women in 9 of the top 10 most remunerative college majors. Those majors are listed below:
- Petroleum Engineering: 87% male
- Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: 48% male
- Mathematics and Computer Science: 67% male
- Aerospace Engineering: 88% male
- Chemical Engineering: 72% male
- Electrical Engineering: 89% male
- Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: 97% male
- Mechanical Engineering: 90% male
- Metallurgical Engineering: 83% male
- Mining and Mineral Engineering: 90% male
Furthermore, women outnumber men in 9 of the 10 least remunerative college majors. Those majors are listed below:
- Counseling Psychology: 74% female
- Early Childhood Education: 97% female
- Theology and Religious Vocations: 34% female
- Human Services and Community Organization: 81% female
- Social Work: 88% female
- Drama and Theater Arts: 60% female
- Studio Arts: 66% female
- Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: 94% female
- Visual and Performing Arts: 77% female
- Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: 55% female
The simple fact is that men and women tend to seek different types of jobs – men seek more higher paying jobs and women seek lower paying jobs. As a result, when only comparing the total earnings of men to the total earnings of women, there will be a significant difference.
Now, to be fair, when accounting for those differences (in position, hours worked, etc.) there is still a wage gap but it is significantly less than the 20-25% figure that is cited. A CNBC article, titled “Men still earn more than women with the same jobs”, states that,
“even when comparing the sexes with the same job title at the same company and using similar education and experience, the gender pay gap persists: Men earned 2.4 percent more than women on average.”
However, the article does go on to state that the wage gap has been shrinking in recent years.
To conclude, the wage gap is a real thing but it is rapidly decreasing and it is nowhere near as drastic as some would claim. When we, as a society, try to solve issues of injustice and inequity (particularly in matters concerning wages), we must also be honest and truthful when discussing these differences. But continuing to perpetuate the incredibly false narrative that women make about 75% of what men make for the same job is not helpful and not conducive to solving the problem of the wage gap.
Information from Georgetown Study: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/01/no-women-don-t-make-less-money-than-men.html
Actual Wage Gap Information: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/05/men-still-earn-more-than-women-with-the-same-jobs.html