Tuesday, April 12th marked the 15th anniversary of Equal Pay Day, which the National Committee for Pay Equity first began in 1996 to recognize the pay gap between men and women. Well, here we are, 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was originally signed into law by President John F. Kennedy, and the basic premise of the act has still not been achieved.
Worse still, this past November the US Senate actually took a step backwards when they failed to approve a bill that would move the Paycheck Fairness Act forward. Also,according to census statistics from September 2010, women working full time still make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, on average.
So, you can imagine my surprise which quickly turned to rage when I came across a recent WSJ article, claiming that there is no male-female wage gap. The author of the article, Carrie Lukas, posits that the differences in average earnings between men and women do not stem from discrimination.
Instead, she believes that any disparity in pay has to do with the fact that men work harder and longer hours than women. According to Lukas, Equal Pay Day is really just about “manufactured feminist grievances.”
“The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more.”
Lukas’ definition of “work” is skewed in her rationalization. She does not account for the fact that maybe the reason men spend 9% more time working in the office is because they’re spending a lot less time than women working in the home.
According to the same survey, “on an average day, 20% of men did housework… compared with 51% of women.” Women, on average, spent 2.6 hours on household activities, while men spent 2.0 hours.
If we could balance all of these numbers out, then we’d all be in a better place and maybe women would actually have that extra 9% more time to spend in the office.
“Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility.
Simply put, many women… are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.”
Oh, are we? It may be true that men tend to enter higher paying fields than women, but Lukas’ rationalization as to why is completely unfounded.
We don’t just naturally gravitate towards “flexible” jobs. But when you consider the fact that “mothers receive a 4 percent wage penalty for the first child and a 12 percent penalty for each additional child,” it stands to reason that we may not be left with much of a choice.
But for the sake of arguing, let’s just say that she’s right it still doesn’t change the fact that even when a man works in the same primarily female-dominated field (i.e., teaching or nursing) as a woman, the wage gap is still very much present. For example, a full-time male registered nurse still earns an extra $2,860 per year.
It’s really rare to read such a sexist article written by a fellow female. If people like her continue to teach other women to have such an anti-feminist attitude in regards to such a major issue, then we will never be able to take the appropriate steps to alleviate gender problems like this one.
No, I don’t mean to go on a feminist rant here, but someone’s got to stand up to the Carrie Lukas’ of the world.