The easy way to fix the wage gap
October 24, 2012 Leave a comment
There’s not. Tricked you. A new study out yesterday finds more evidence for just how persistent in can be, even when controlling for lots of factors. Now, it’s not $.77 on the dollar, but it certainly still is something that needs to be addressed (I’m all for addressing the issue, just not lying about it with statistics and treating it in a way overly simplistic manner). Via NPR:
For example, many women choose lower paying industries, such as teaching or social sciences, while men select jobs in science and technical industries, which pay more.
So, as the Washington Post notes, the authors tried to make everything as similar as possible. They tracked graduates with identical collegiate experiences, limited familiarity with the work world, and those who didn’t have spouses or children.
But the wage gap persisted.
The study found that in teaching, female college graduates earned 89 percent of what men did. In business, women earned 86 percent compared to men. In sales occupations, women earned 77 percent of what men took home.
Still not sure that controls, everything, but there’s a really, really great commentary on this by Slate’s Amanda Hess. If you care about the issue at all, read the whole thing. But her conclusion really says it all:
Blau told the Atlantic that while enforcing anti-discrimination law is important, the pay gap will only disappear with “voluntary changes” from individuals across the economy. That means men mentoring women, fathers taking care of kids, employers setting flexible hours for everyone, young women learning to navigate the sexism of salary negotiation and promotion, teachers recruiting girls into math courses, men stepping into traditionally female fields, industry leaders reconfiguring business practices to accommodate all work styles, changing our perspective on productivity, everyone stopping being so unconsciously sexist all the time, and the government helping out where it can—by setting supportive policies on healthcare, childcare, and gender discrimination, and promoting female workers in government, too.
So, there you go, that’s all we need to do . That’s a heck of a lot. But it’s not like any of these things are impossible. So let’s work towards these changes. But let’s be honest about how complicated and difficult it will be to meaningfully address all these things.