I've written about this frequently, but here's a recent summary of the research from nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker. She wrote it in response to President Obama's announcement of a White House Council on Women and Girls:
There isn't space here to fully critique each statistic mentioned by the president, but here's just one: Women still earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.
As has been often explained, apparently to deaf ears, this figure is derived by comparing the average median wage of all full-time working men and women without considering multiple variables, including the choices women and men make. A more accurate picture comes from a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor by the CONSAD Research Corp.
Although women do not lead as many Fortune 500 companies (only 3 percent, according to Obama), they account for 51 percent of all workers in the high-paying management, professional and related occupations, according to the study. Women outnumber men, for example, as financial managers, human resource managers, education administrators, medical and health services managers, and accountants and auditors.
Otherwise, wage differences can be explained by "observable differences in the attributes of men and women," including, among many, the fact that a greater percentage of women than men take leave for childbirth and child care, which tends to lead to lower wages. Also, women may place more value on "family-friendly" workplace policies and prefer non-wage compensation, such as health insurance or flexibility.
The statistical analysis, which included these and other variables, produced an adjusted gender wage gap between 4.8 percent and 7.1 percent. The gap shrinks to almost nothing when men and women of equal backgrounds and tenure are compared, according to another study of young, childless men and women.
While no one would argue that women shouldn't be compensated as well as men for the same work, it isn't quite accurate to suggest a widespread problem of wage discrimination.
Or, as the Labor Department labor study warns against, to justify policy-level correctives.
Whatever imbalances remain should be self-correcting as women and men achieve educational parity, but that's if boys get some help. Indeed, men and women reached educational parity with college graduation rates in 1982. Today, women receive 58 percent of bachelor's degrees and represent half of graduates in medical and law school.
Boys, meanwhile, are the ones dropping out of school or being expelled. They're the ones failing, abusing drugs and committing suicide. What kind of men do we expect them to become, assuming they survive?
Cathy Young, in a recent article in Reason, added this: "Numerous studies show that when differences in training, work hours, and continuity of employment are taken into account, the pay gap all but disappears. Most economists, including liberal feminists such as Harvard's Claudia Goldin, agree that while sex discrimination exists, male-female disparities in earnings and achievement are due primarily to personal choices and priorities. Women are far more likely than men to avoid jobs with 60-hour workweeks and to scale down their careers while raising children. They are also more likely to choose less lucrative but more fulfilling jobs."
I do not understand why liberals are so eager to be unfair to men.