The best recent work on the alleged wage gap was done by Warren Farrell in his book Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap And What Women Can Do About It. Warren's newest release--"How the AAUW Pay Equity Study Undermines Women"--details fallacies with the recent assertions of widespread wage discrimination against women. It is reprinted with permission below. Warren, whom I consider the intellectual wellspring of the men's movement, will be speaking atthe Third National Men's Equality Congress July 13-14 in Washington D.C. Warren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the AAUW Pay Equity Study Undermines Women
By Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
April 24 is Pay Equity Day. Hillary Clinton is leading a protest against the alleged discrimination behind the gender pay gap, and introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act. The AAUW (American Association of University Women) is publicizing a study that appears to document the discrimination against women reflected by the gap. And restaurants are giving discounts to women to help compensate and show support.
When I was on the Board of the National Organization for Women in New York City in the seventies, I also led protests against the male-female pay gap. And I also assumed the gap reflected both discrimination against women and the undervaluing of women.
Then one day I asked myself, "If we can pay women less for the same work, why would any one hire a man?" And if they did, wasn't there a punishment--called "going out of business?" In other words, did market forces contain a built-in punishment against discrimination?
The answer to what the pay gap was really about became more than theoretical as two daughters entered my life. After a decade of research for Why Men Earn More, I discovered 25 differences in men and women's work-life choices. All 25 lead to men earning more money; and all 25 lead to women having better lives--lives more balanced between work and home. (Since real power is about having a better life, well, once again, the women have outsmarted us!)
As it turns out, the road to high pay is a toll road. High pay is about trade-offs. Men's trade-offs include working more hours (women work more at home); taking more-dangerous, dirtier, and outdoor jobs (garbage collecting; construction; trucking); relocating and traveling; training for more-technical jobs with less people contact (engineering); taking late night shifts; working for more years; being absent less frequently...