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The Gender Wage Gap: The Problem with Narratives based on Vision rather than Facts

This video contains an excellent discussion on the truth about the gender wage gap in America and its true nature. Please watch it.

Numbers can lie when those who use them misrepresent their meaning. When they are forced into a paint by numbers portrait of the world that fits a visionary bias rather than a reasoned fact based picture of how things actually work. Biblical conceptions of wisdom demand that one knows how the world works and how to accomplish desired ends within it. Emotionalized mud slinging that short-circuits one’s own stated goals is foolish.

I would never want to suggest that racism, bias, prejudice, and discrimination are not a reality in the world, (by all in every direction imaginable) but the vision of the world that sees racism, bias, prejudice, and discrimination as the primary driving force in world history and present society and blames them for every “inequality” in the world is false.

This video exposes one element of that tendency—Blaming gender income gaps between the sexes on discrimination against women. It is fallacious.

Statistics generally suggest that a woman in the work place, will earn 77% of what a man will make.

In this video they explore the realities of this statistic. Though it is used indiscriminately to fashion sweeping governmental policies, those bandying this statistic about fail to consider many important things about it.

  1. This is a life-time earnings gap that does not compare equal candidates, but only looks at women and men with full-time jobs as broad categories. It is not concerned with real people, only classifiable groups. Thus, it compares apples to oranges.
  2. This figure does not consider gender inclinations in which women tend to choose different kinds of careers which themselves adjust life-time earning capacity. Women tend to avoid fields whose educational arch reaches its zenith later in life.
  3. This figure does not consider gender inclinations in which women tend to work fewer hours than men. Women tend to show love and concern for their families by going home to build a home, while men tend to show love for their families by staying to work overtime.
  4. It doesn’t consider gender inclinations in which women tend to take one or more lengthy breaks in their careers in order to tend to the domestic needs of their children.
  5. When equal workers are compared in equal situations, that supposed 23% gap, found in the 77% earning contrast, closes, according to the department of labor figures, to 6%. An apples to apples comparison of real men and women in similar situations suggest that a woman will actually make 94% of what a man will make.
  6. When equal workers are compared in equal situations, other economists have found that women making the same types of choices as men in regard to career “dedication” and hours, they tend to out-earn their male counterparts. (Surely, this is proof of discrimination against men in the work place… right?)
  7. The video also discusses another gender inclination—one that is commonly blamed on discrimination. It claims that studies have shown that women are more reluctant than men to aggressively negotiate higher salaries. It is pure economics, not an evil plot against women, to keep salaries as low as possible, and those who show themselves less inclined to engage in the tricky process of “contract” finagling, like me by the way, will get less than they could.
  8. I like the conclusion of the discussion, encouraging women away from victimhood and toward a wise consideration of the opportunities available to them and how their choices should reflect their own vision for their lives—a message of personal responsibility.

The only flaw in this discussion is that, while it rightly warns against the negative impact on women that future government intrusion into the market place will have, (The Pay Check Fairness Act) it heralds past government interference—The Equal Rights Act of 1963 and The Civil Rights Act of 1964. One might argue, as Thomas Sowell does in his book Economic Facts and Fallacies, that these, as well as other acts of government intrusion aimed to “help the situation” did as much damage as future acts will do. The numbers surrounding circumstances both before and after these government intrusions were and are as misrepresented as those statistics which this video aims to clarify. The few positive trends to which those supporting those acts lay claim, were, according to Sowell, already in motion without those acts, and were, in truth, slowed by them.

Third party interference in the economic exchanges of those actually vested in the decisions that get made almost always injuries all parties involved in the exchange… except the third party interferer, who gains power and a false sense of personal pride as a do-gooder.

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