The left has declared today #EqualPayDay. Why? Because this is supposedly the day that women must work until this year to earn what a man earned the previous year. Women supposedly earn $0.79 cents for every dollar earned by a man – but, of course, this neglects the fact that women choose different jobs, take time off from work for different reasons, work fewer hours, and make different life decisions on average. When all the confounds are removed, women earn just as much as men, and in major cities, actually earn more than men.
But never mind: women must be treated as victims. That’s because victimhood equals virtue, and women must be granted cherished minority victimhood status.
So, here are seven facts you should know about the mythical wage gap commemorated by the nonsensical #EqualPayDay:
Women Are Not A Minority. Women not only constitute a slight majority of Americans, they constitute a heavy majority of voters; in every presidential election since 1980, female voters have exceeded male voters, and in 2012, 53 percent of voters were women, who voted in significant margins for President Obama.
Women Are Not A Minority Of College Students. Since the 1970s, women have been more likely to graduate high school than men, as Jeff Guo of The Washington Post reports; since the 1980s, women have graduated from college at higher rates than men. Guo points out:
Women today get the majority of college degrees in America. It doesn’t matter what kind — associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral — women beat men in all the categories. In the 2009-2010 academic year, women earned 57.4 percent of all bachelor’s degrees.
Furthermore, women hold 58 percent of graduate school degrees.
Single, Childless Women In Major Cities Earn Significantly More Than Men. According to James Chung of Reach Advisors, who analyzed the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, single, childless women earn more than their male counterparts of the same age in major cities across the United States. Here’s Time:
[A]ccording to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).
Women Don’t Bargain Worse Than Men. According to Harvard economics professor Claudia Goldin, studies show that men and women earn the same amount right out of college. If men were better at bargaining, that discrepancy would show up immediately.
Women Make Different Life Decisions. My wife is a doctor; she formally graduates from UCLA Medical School in June. She took a year off when we had our first child. That means hear earning was delayed by a year. I took off four days. That’s not atypical. As Goldin says, “We see large differences in where [men and women] are, in their job titles, and a lot of that occurs a year or two after a kid is born, and it occurs for women and not for men.”
Men Work Longer Hours. Women value flexibility in career; men tend to value upward mobility. Men work longer hours than women. Sarah Ketterer of The Wall Street Journal writes:
Full-time employment is technically defined as more than 35 hours. This raises an obvious problem: A simple side-by-side comparison of all men and all women includes people who work 35 hours a week, and others who work 45. Men are significantly more likely than women to work longer hours, according to the BLS. And if we compare only people who work 40 hours a week, BLS data show that women then earn on average 90 cents for every dollar earned by men.
And that data doesn’t even include how many more hours than 40 men are working for those working over 40 hours.
Men Choose Different Professions. Here’s Ketterer reporting again:
Research in 2013 by Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University economist, shows that women flock to college majors that lead to lower-paying careers. Of the 10 lowest-paying majors—such as “drama and theater arts” and “counseling psychology”—only one, “theology and religious vocations,” is majority male. Conversely, of the 10 highest-paying majors—including “mathematics and computer science” and “petroleum engineering”—only one, “pharmacy sciences and administration,” is majority female. Eight of the remaining nine are more than 70% male.
Equal pay day for women is every day that women make the same choices as men. The choices women currently make aren’t qualitatively better or worse than men, necessarily, but they do have obvious consequences. Pretending that different decisions do not have disparate consequences is a hallmark of the left, which believes that equal results must be guaranteed regardless of personal choice. But wishes do not shape reality, and quashing Americans’ business freedom based on mythology is both counterproductive and immoral.