Friday, September 09, 2005

Exploiting the Gender Gap

Nothing disturbs working women more than the statistics often mentioned on Labor Day showing that they are paid only 76 cents to men's dollar for the same work.
This is a topic that also disturbs me.

First, as an economist, where I would have to believe that men are so sexist that they are willing to pay 24% more for an equally competent man than woman. I would have to accept that there are no women out there that are willing to create businesses where they would just hire women and have a 24% lower employee cost, which should make them significantly more competitive than anyone else.

Second, because this is a big deal for my sister and I will be getting an earful about it. So I am a big fan of any article that can give me a little ammunition.
I discovered that in 2000, women without bosses - who own their own businesses - earned only 49 percent of male business owners. Why? When the Rochester Institute of Technology surveyed business owners with M.B.A.'s from one top business school, they found that money was the primary motivator for only 29 percent of the women, versus 76 percent of the men. Women put a premium on autonomy, flexibility (25- to 35-hour weeks and proximity to home), fulfillment and safety.

After years of research, I discovered 25 differences in the work-life choices of men and women. All 25 lead to men earning more money, but to women having better lives.

High pay, as it turns out, is about tradeoffs. Men's tradeoffs include working more hours (women work more around the home); taking more dangerous, dirtier and outdoor jobs (garbage collecting, construction, trucking); relocating and traveling; and training for technical jobs with less people contact (like engineering).

Women who have never been married and are childless earn 117 percent of their childless male counterparts. (This comparison controls for education, hours worked and age.)
Interesting. The author goes on to explain how the Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps lots of jobs into the same category so an apples to apples comparison is difficult.

I do differ with the author in that he appears to be trying to get the word out so that women can make more money. I would argue that if men are making choices to make more money, and women are making choices to have better lives, that it is the men who need to do the changing.

I was hesitant to put this post up, because the author is a kook. But the NY Times verifies all the stats so I figure they are good. I like how the article is called "Exploiting" the Gender Gap, as the author appears to be able to exploit anything for a little free publicity. If you do a Google Search on Warren Farrell, you find a nice commentary on a Penthouse article he wrote supporting incest, his pimped out website where you find out he was elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women and the only person selected to speak at former California Governor Wilson's Conference on Men as well as his Conference on Women. You also find his unsuccessful run for California governor site which if I am not mistaken he received less votes that Gary Coleman.

Via The New York Times

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