This year’s Equal Pay Day witnessed the renewal of attacks from the left on conservatives, as well as a media campaign to ensure equal pay for women. Along with this campaign came new studies from feminist organizations, such as this one from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which suggests women receive 82 cents for every dollar their male colleagues make. This particular study, entitled “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” dramatically misleads readers in a clear attempt to make women feel victimized rather than informed.
If a young female voter actually read the AAUW’s study, she would recognize that many different factors contribute to the wage gap among college graduates, least of all workplace discrimination. As the study admits, different college majors lead to very different earnings. For example, men comprise about 80% of engineering and computer science majors, high-paying jobs in high demand, while women dominate lower-paying fields like Education and Health Sciences. Surely we can all agree it’s fair that a female anthropology major who works in a museum her first year out of college will make less than a male computer science major who works for a computer software company.
Even when the study purports to adjust for the same college majors, it still makes vague groupings such as “Other Occupations,” which includes careers ranging from library sciences and communications to architecture and law. Should the female librarian at my local library make as much money as my male lawyer? Of course not, and men and women in such diverse fields should not be compared in a study intended to measure discrimination. However, the study would have its readers believe that the differences in salary for these “other” jobs are the result of gender prejudice. Even for students of the same major, “occupational segregation” still persists, as each gender tends to specialize in different areas of their chosen field. For instance, among social studies graduates, men were “more likely to work in business or management occupations,” while women were “more likely to work as social services professionals” or educators. Moreover, “female science and business majors are twice as likely as their male counter-parts to enter clerical work,” rather than higher-paying management positions.
Men in full-time jobs consistently report working more hours than women in full-time jobs, and men and women tend to enter different economic sectors, with more men working in the for-profit sector versus more women in the nonprofit. Indeed, when the study controls for variables like major, occupation, and hours, the wage gap shrinks to 93 cents to the dollar. Even a feminist organization like the AAUW, which admitted that its work is largely designed to encourage young women to vote (for the Democrats), cannot find a gap equivalent to the 77 cents touted by the White House and the mainstream media.
The AAUW attributes the remaining 7 cent gap to discrimination, largely because they cannot sufficiently explain its presence. But if a female worker actually earned less than her male colleague working the exact same job, with the same experience and hours, she would have ample grounds to sue. And as economist Thomas Sowell points out, if the 77 percent statistic were reality, “employers would be paying 30 percent more than they had to” whenever they hired a man for a job a woman could perform equally well.
So why is the Obama administration promoting a fabricated wage gap? As Democratic candidates with midterm aspirations continue to distance themselves from the debacle that is Obamacare, and as the President continues to look embarrassingly weak in the wake of Russian aggression in the East, the Democrats are desperate to attract voters. And what better way than to convince women they’re being systematically oppressed by the Republican patriarchy?
Also making headlines recently is the Paycheck Fairness Act, which supposedly reinforces the idea that equal work merits equal pay. The mainstream media has launched attacks against Republicans and conservatives who blocked the bill’s passage, painting them as enemies of women and proponents of discrimination. However, as Karl Rove notes, discriminating against women in the workplace has been illegal since the 1963 Equal Pay Act, and this new legislation is little more than a political tool. Multiple sections of the bill benefit powerful special interests, like the personal-injury lawyers who funnel money into Democratic campaigns and committees, more than they actually help women. For example, Section 3(a) “would remove the presumption of innocence for companies accused of wage discrimination” and require companies to pass stringent tests to prove their innocence, making expensive lawsuits much more likely. Section 8 “requires every company to report pay data by sex, race and national origin to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” effectively pointing attorneys to possible targets of discrimination while also removing the burden of financing their own research. With a law like this, designed to pay back Obama’s financial backers, the media should be praising Republicans for preventing its passage.
The left continuously uses the terms “equality” and “fairness” to disguise their entitlement agenda. The wage gap myth espoused by the Obama administration wrongly convinces women that they’re being paid less for doing the same jobs–they’re being deprived of an equal salary that they are inherently entitled to. Similar themes are evident in the effort to increase the minimum wage and in the issue of “income inequality.” According to them, if you’re working an entry-level position earning the minimum wage, that just isn’t fair, and your employers are needlessly preventing you from making the higher wages you are entitled to. As long as you’re a hard working American, even if you’re a college dropout in a working-class occupation, you’re also entitled to an income more like that of your Middle Class neighbors in the next town over. Last time I checked, however, a job title does not determine a salary, raising the minimum wage would force employers to cut jobs, and total income equality is known as communism.
Hopefully young female voters will look beyond the headlines and recognize the lies of the left. Women should refuse to be used as political pawns in the upcoming midterm elections, because believing in the entitlement culture of the left will lead to results that further corruption and harm the economy, rather than resolve any gender discrimination that exists in the workplace.