For decades now, we’ve been hearing about the Gender Pay Gap – the statistic that women make 77%, 78%, and now 80% as much as men. But as much as we hear it, it seems hardly anyone personally experiences it.
I, for example, have spent over 30 years in the workforce. And during those years, I have worked with hundreds of women in approximately 10 companies, most of which were relatively large. And yet, none of these women, nor any of my female relatives, nor female friends, nor fellow female churchgoers, have ever complained that they personally earned less than a male co-worker for doing the same job, with the same seniority, with the same production, for the same company.
So, what gives?
It’s times like these where we must take a closer look and see why these number are what they are.
Women work fewer hours
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, men worked 78,600,000 hours in 2018, while women worked 69,500,000 hours. That means women work 88% as many hours as men. So, right there is 12 points of the overall pay discrepancy.
Many women I’ve worked with over the years have flat out told me that they let their husbands work long hours while they choose to work a job with fewer hours that fits their desired lifestyle. In fact, even my dental hygienist told me this at my last visit. Women are choosing fewer hours. So, to pay women the same as men overall for fewer hours worked would really be sexist discrimination against men.
And it doesn’t end there. Longer hours worked often equates to more pay per hour. For example, hourly wage jobs are required to pay employees time and a half for overtime work. In sales jobs, extra hours worked leads to extra sales and the resulting attainment of bonuses for hitting high level objectives. Also, those who work more hours tend to get promoted more, and jobs that require longer hours tend to pay higher salaries. So, it’s quite likely that the difference in hours worked accounts for far more than 12 points of the disparity. It may be as much as 18 points.
Men work “uncomfortable” jobs
In an attempt to prove that women are discriminated against in their pay, feminists sometimes site industry-by-industry numbers that prove women get paid less. I don’t doubt that these numbers are real. However, just because men and women work in the same industry doesn’t mean they work the same jobs.
For example, I spent 6 years working in the telecom industry. In that industry, both women and men worked in tele-sales, marketing, customer service, provisioning, and dispatch. But hardly any women chose to apply for jobs in door-to-door sales, installations, and line/pole work, where workers spent long days in 100-degree heat and sub-zero wind chills while facing a much greater risk of on-the-job injuries (sounds much more “uncomfortable” than Joe Biden touching your shoulder, doesn’t it?). Therefore, since there’s twice the competition for the cushy, climate-controlled indoor jobs that women pursue, companies can attract workers to those jobs with less pay than is needed to attract workers to the physically-uncomfortable, more dangerous outdoor jobs that most women avoid (speaking of danger – men suffer 93% of the job-related deaths, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Fewer applicants means higher pay to attract applicants.
Women work fewer years
Lots of women take several years off to raise children. They return to work once those children get older. However, if a given woman takes 7 years off, that gives her 7 years less seniority and experience than men who don’t, resulting in lower pay.
Women choose less demanding positions
This is less true than it used to be. But millions of women still choose to focus less on career and more on home-life than men do. Therefore, these women often choose to not pursue careers that require a very high number of hours. Yet that’s where the big dollars are.
Men are more in demand from women than women are from men
This one is for the entertainment industry. For example, actress Jennifer Lawrence complains she gets paid far less than co-stars like Bradley Cooper in movies, and she thinks that’s gender discrimination. That, however, is like complaining that Patriots fullback James Devlin gets paid less than quarterback Tom Brady. Tom Brady plays the biggest role in the team’s production and is in far more demand league-wide than others at his position. Therefore, he attracts much higher contract offers for his work. Yes, teams can find other quarterbacks, but they may not attract as many fans and make as much revenue as they would with Tom Brady.
Contract work in Hollywood isn’t much different. Those who draw the largest audiences receive the largest contracts.
Now here’s something few people think about: The reason women are in less demand than men in movies and music is actually the fault of female fans. While both men and women tend to spend their entertainment dollars on artists and actors of their own sex that they personally identify with, women tend to spend far more on men they find attractive. I’ll admit, I don’t have numbers to back this up. But I have seen it personally over and over again throughout the years. For example, when I was in my late teens and early 20s, men had posters of their favorite male rock bands on their walls, but hardly any female artists. Who did girls have on their walls? Mostly male heartthrobs, like Bon Jovi (who also had lots of male fans). Likewise, women are far more likely to flock to the latest movie from Bradley Cooper than men are to flock to the latest movie from Jennifer Lawrence. Yet men will flock to Bradley Copper too, because he usually does good movies. So Cooper draws lots of male and female fans, while Lawrence merely draws female fans. She is simply in less demand by the public. If, on the other hand, she was so popular that giving her the lead role in a movie guaranteed box office mega-bucks more than any other actor could, she would be able to hold out for higher pay than any other actor.
The politics of it all
Yes, saying over and over again that women face overwhelming pay discrimination certainly gets a lot of feminists out to the polls to vote for Democrats. But the truth is there’s no realistic legislation that can make a difference going forward. The Lilly Ledbetter Act, and as well as other previous legislation, has done all that can be done politically to ensure equal pay for women when they do the same job, with the same seniority, with the same production, for the same company.
The fact that this has been nothing more than a Democratic vote-getter over the years has led me to remain silent on the issue, since I am a Democrat. But now that I see feminists trying to destroy careers of men within their own party over things that were never considered wrong, I fear tyranny against men in this country lies in our furture. Today’s feminism is no longer about equal rights (which has been achieved); it’s now about “empowering” women to destroy men in Ex Post Facto fashion (Biden) without due process of law (Franken – even when there was video proof Tweeden was lying). That’s tyranny. And I need to stand up to my party and call it out, just as I have, for years, expected Republican Christian to stand up to their own party and condemn its evils.
-K. Scott Schaeffer