April 12 marks “Equal Pay Day,” a day for advocates to raise awareness of the wage gap that exists between male and female workers in the United States.
As usual, however, this attempt at raising awareness also raises an outdated debate about whether or not this is an important enough issue to discuss.
We’ve all heard The White House statistic before: women can expect to make roughly 78 percent of what a man (with the same background, education, etc.) will make in his lifetime. In other words, for every dollar a man makes, women can expect to make 78 cents for the same work.
While this statistic is credible, reliable, and has stayed the same for years at this point, many people (particularly men) believe that this is a myth.
Equal Pay Day? So... every day?— Juan Valencia (@juanvalenciagd) April 12, 2016
HINT: Don't take gender studies. Go for STEM.
I just saw a commercial about closing the wage gap. FUN FACT. ITS A MYTH AND ONLY A MYTH— ? roberto ? (@rubber_t03) April 12, 2016
Wage gap is a myth it doesn't account for different occupations it just lumps every professional into to segments— just Caleb (@CalebGreyAcea) April 11, 2016
The attack on the “feminist agenda” and the “wage gap myth” is so sad, it’s bordering on hilarious.
One of the many arguments against the wage gap is that women are not taking jobs in the same field as men—that they won’t do the same dirty work as men (i.e: garbage collection, mining, sewage work etc.) but the fact of the matter is, women don’t get hired for those jobs.
In fact, ThinkProgress found a study that “looked at nearly 10,000 of this year’s male and female MBA graduates, who are usually young and childless, ambitious, and all of whom had a full-time job lined up. Despite the fact that this weeds out those have different work experience, seek flexibility in order to care for children, want part-time jobs, or just don’t aim for the top, women got starting salaries that were almost $15,000 less than those for men.”
While it is true that two-thirds of women make up the minimum-wage workforce, that doesn’t account for the fact that women consistently make less money for the same work that men do. In fact, a recent study by Government Accountability Office and even economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn couldn’t account for 20 percent of the disparity in pay between men and women—something that could be at least in part caused by discrimination.
Another argument is that women take more time off for childcare. Recent studies suggest that for every child a woman has, her salary decreases by four percent thereafter. On the other hand, men’s salaries increase by six percent after fatherhood.
It’s important to point out that a recent study by Dr. Julie Wray of Salford University found that women should have a year to properly heal from childbirth and to care for their newborn child—however, on average, women only see anywhere from six to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (despite the fact that almost every developed country in the world offers paid maternity leave, the U.S. does not).
Next time someone tries to feed you any one of these ridiculous lines about the wage gap, just remember that there are more than enough studies to back it up.
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