NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 25, 2005

The claim that women do not get a fair deal the workplace does not hold true, according to Warren Farrell in his book, "Why Men Earn More." Pay disparities among men and women are more a reflection of lifestyle choices, not discrimination, he concludes.

In 2003, the Government Accountability Office found that women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. However:

  • Women generally earn less than men because they choose flexible and fulfilling jobs which may pay less: a librarian with a graduate degree will earn less than a garbage collector with less than a high school diploma.
  • Women generally take jobs with less risk and more pleasant working conditions.
  • If women chose more of the same career paths as men and worked longer hours, they would attain pay equity with men.

Farrell notes that by choosing higher-paying careers, women will have fewer opportunities to have children, take maternity leave and work more flexible hours. Furthermore, the notion from feminists that women can "have it all" is simply false. Women face trade-offs when pursuing a career or a family.

Sources: Loredana Vuoto, "Sauce for the Gender," National Review, April 11, 2005; andWarren Farrell, "Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap -- and What Women Can Do About It," AMACOM; 1st edition, January, 2005.


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