NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 22, 2008

While the average woman does indeed earn less than the average man, the gap has very little, if anything, to do with discrimination.  It has everything to do with choice, says Jessica Peck, a policy analyst with the Independence Institute.

For instance:

  • Women's earnings in 2006 were 76.9 percent of men's, with the median full-time, year-round female employee earning just $32,515, compared to a median male earning of $42,261, according to the National Committee on Pay Equality (NCPE).
  • However, women earn less largely because they have the luxury of decisions that men generally do not, such as working less hours in the average work week and being more likely to take time off to have kids or care for aging parents.

Men are also much more likely to suffer fatal workplace injuries than women, says Peck:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2006, the most recent year available, 428 American women were killed on the job; compare this with the 5,275 men who lost their lives.
  • Men take more dangerous, laborious, and physically demanding jobs, and they are compensated heavily for taking such positions.
  • According to the BLS, the most deadly fields for 2006 were those heavily dominated by men.

Conversely, as the BLS statistics demonstrated, the fields with the lowest death rates, including education and social services, are female-dominated.  Ultimately, the average man is more willing than the average woman to spend his days inside dark mines to extract coal.

Interestingly, among people ages 27 to 33 who have never had a child, women's earnings approach 98 percent of men's, according to a 2002 analysis published by the National Center for Policy Analysis,

Source: Jessica Peck, "The Left's Gender Wage Lies," Human Events, April 18, 2008.

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