During a campaign stop this week in Nevada, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) claimed that women aren’t paid equally to men for the same work:
Look, women are still not paid equal for equal work in America. We’ve got to deal with that. We have to deal with the fact that we’re not paying teachers their value and all of our kids in public schools and want to know there will be teachers there who love them and have a passion for the work, but can actually afford to meet their bills every month. There’s so much that we need to do.
This isn’t the first time the senator has made this claim.
In May, during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Harris was more specific, stating:
The law says that men and women should be paid equally for equal work, but what we know is that in America today, women on average are paid 80 cents on the dollar of what men are paid for the same work … these are actually not debatable points.
They are, in fact, debatable points.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, the “female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.805” when comparing the median annual earnings of men ($52,146) and women ($41,977).
These numbers, however, are broad averages, and don’t take into account the numerous factors unrelated to gender discrimination that create pay disparities. Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) states as much in a 2014 “Factual Feminist” video:
There was an analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers commissioned by the Department of Labor. What they found is that the so-called “wage gap” is mostly, perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make – different fields of study, different professions, different balances between and home and work…
A 2009 report from CONSAD Research Corp backs this up:
There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.
A paper by Valentin Bolotnyy, PhD, and Natalia Emanuel that examined the working behavior of bus and train operators from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) found much of the wage gap seen in this particular profession was explained not by gender discrimination, but by different choices made by the sexes.
“…the earnings gap can be explained by female operators taking, on average, 1.5 fewer hours of overtime and 1.3 more hours of unpaid time-off per week than male operators,” Bolotnyy and Emanuel write. “Female operators, especially those who have dependents, pursue schedule conventionality, predictability, and controllability more than male operators.”
The authors add that two policy changes pertaining to overtime hours and unpaid time off “narrowed the earnings gap … from $0.89 in 2015 to $0.94 in 2017.”
While Sen. Harris and other progressives can repeatedly assert that women aren’t paid equally to men, the above evidence strongly suggests otherwise.