NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE UNEQUAL PAY MYTH

March 23, 2005

Politicians and the media periodically argue that women earn less than men and are therefore victims of male oppression, says columnist John Leo. However, the numbers just don't add up.

In a recent book, Warren Farrell, a former board member for the National Organization for Women, found:

  • Female pay exceeds male pay in more than 80 fields, 39 of them in large fields that offer good jobs, including financial analyst, engineering manager, statistician, agricultural/food scientist, and aerospace engineer among others.
  • Never-married, college educated men who work full time earn only 85 percent of what women of comparable status earn.
  • A female investment banker's starting pay is 116 percent of a male's starting pay.
  • Part-time female workers earn $1.10 for every $1.00 earned by part-time male workers.

However, women who own their own businesses net only 49 percent of what their male counterparts earn, indicating that disparities in wages are due to lifestyle trade-offs that women choose, and not because male bosses are holding them back.

In cases where men earn more than women, says Farrell, men are more likely to take higher-risk jobs that expose them to more dangerous conditions and pay a risk premium, where women are more likely to take glamorous jobs that pay less.

Source: John Leo, "Money Wars," Dallas Morning News, March 19, 2005.

 

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