An Old Dyke’s Tale: the Gender Wage Gap
It’s that time of the week, which means I should have another book review for you according to what passes for a schedule around here. As much as I’d love to trot out a review of whatever fiction’s come weeping out of some suburbanite’s vagina—or Jonathan Franzen’s—I made the mistake of watching the second presidential debate earlier this week. Which means I, along with 65.6 million other Americans, watched a young woman who’s not a politician stand up, look at the camera, and tell a bald faced lie.
“(directed at Mr. President, desperate to maintain female supporters as election day approaches), In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”
Wait, what the fuck did you just ask, Ms. Katherine Fenton? Did you just stand up and ask why women make 72 cents on the dollar compared to men, in 2012?
I have never heard of “72 cents on the dollar.” I believe the greatly exaggerated figure you’re looking for Ms. Fenton is 77 cents on the dollar, because I can assure you that things have not gotten worse for women in the workplace. No, going as far left as we can, the venerable rag Time is ec-fucking-static over the fact that young professional women (who don’t have families) now outearn men in 147 of 150 major American cities. And wouldn’t you know it that 77 cents figure comes from raw uncontrolled data. Seems if you control for factors like hours worked, years of experience, consecutive years with a given employer etc. that wage gap just about evaporates. Imagine that, and in 2012.
Maybe the women Fenton is referring to are toiling in the fields, or hard at work on oil rigs in North Dakota, where they’re discriminated against because of, well, vagina. I get the distinct impression that a.) those industries make up a small proportion of the U.S. economy and that b.) women aren’t lining up to do those jobs, but if they were they’d be hired immediately for diversity’s sake. Question is, does anyone actually believe this shit?
If Romney had an ounce of balls, he would have explained to Fenton that the Obama camp is using the emotional knee-jerk reaction to a “wage gap” to beg women’s votes. Because Barack Obama is well aware that the supposed pay gap doesn’t exist. He should know, he was in charge when the most exhaustive study ever conducted on the purported wage gap was completed. Before I hear cries of, “right wing conspiracy!” Let me repeat, Consad, and independent contractor gets paid regardless of their findings. Their research could prove moon men make the same amount of money as earth women and still get paid, so might as well just go with something approaching the truth, right?
Consad, an independent research firm hired by the Department of Labor, found a wage gap of? A nickel. Maybe not even a nickel, because in nearly any statistical analysis there will be variables outside the researchers’ control that affect outcomes. What about 77 cents on the dollar though? Consad examined dozens of other major studies and found that none of them were controlling for variables before comparing women’s pay with men’s. Factors like: education, experience, hours worked, years spent out of the workplace, flex time vs. full-time, etc., etc.
All this information (and this very study) used to be widely available on the Department of Labor website. In its place are the same myths this study busted. Here it is on Consad’s site in all its statistical glory.
This is a big fucking deal. Not Fenton, she’s just a symptom of a large problem. Somehow we’ve become inoculated against the truth. And large parts of the country prefer to just believe what they want, because they feel it’s true. But that lack of logical thought hurts those of us who reason with our skull meat. Obama tilting at windmills, passing more legislation fixing imaginary problems, to appease a group of voters who are so unambiguously wrong they should be lumped in with Holocaust deniers, obscures actual social ills. Threaten employers with more lawsuits over non-existent discrimination? Sounds like a great way to boost hiring.
Gov’t loves imaginary issues—they’re easy to solve and make everyone involved feel great, while dividing the electorate further. Women’s rights groups were relevant, once, maybe. They’re too busy patting themselves on the back and too myopic to see beyond their own persecution complex long enough to recognize that the rest of the workforce is being taken advantage of too. It’s great ladies that you’re still on crusade, but there are bigger issues than making sure you get your flex-time.