Monday, May 7, 2012

A New Angle on the Pay Gap, Equal Pay, and Sexism: Should We Be Subsidizing People's Decisions to Have Children?

I consider myself a feminist, committed to equal opportunity for women and for men. I am not, however, a member of the subset of feminists who have dishonestly trumped-up statistics to further their cause.

One of the most unfair is the broad-brush statistic that women earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared with men. That unfair subset of feminists (and President Obama) asserts or implies that the pay gap is mainly caused by sexism. In fact, when one compares apples with apples, it's clear that pay gap is mostly or completely a function of women's choices.

For example, when women have children, on average, they choose to work fewer hours. Even if they claim to work full-time, women, on average, work fewer hours and, logically, parents are, on average, more fatigued and thus less effective than non-parent employees.

The claim of an unfair gender pay gap implies that parenthood should not cause a decline in pay. Really? When environmentalists believe (Also see this) that overpopulation may be the greatest threat to the environment, should employers cave to feminist pressure groups and be subsidizing childbearing--paying parents the same as non-parents? Should employers succumb to the pressure to provide on-site or subsidized child-care?  Or how about the too-often abused Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows, with minimum documentation, employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave every year to care for a family member and have their job waiting for them on return? The disruptive effect on workplaces is a major cost to employers. And now, those pressure groups want that leave to be paid leave! Indeed, paid family leave is already the law in California. and Washington, and 25% of large companies now give paid leave. Those additional costs to employers are passed on to you and I in higher prices. Is that fair, especially when, as I said, environmentalists assert that the #1 threat to the environment is overpopulation?

HERE is an article presenting an impressive assemblage of data debunking the claim that sexism is the main cause of any gender pay gap. Alas, unless you happen to read the Texoma Enterprise, you'd never see it.  An article of that quality is good enough for a national publication but because it doesn't conform to The Narrative--"Women (and minorities) are victims or heroes"--it's relegated to the Texoma Enterprise.


Chris said...

I would be interested in seeing the article, unfortunately it appears the link is not working.

Keep up the great work!

Marty Nemko said...

Thanks, Chris. It's now fixed.


K-Man said...

An important issue in the workplace, a bit off-topic perhaps, is that many employers blatantly favor parents these days (not just female, but male too) by allowing many of them to work flexible hours, leave early, come in late, and take days off; these opportunities and benefits are routinely denied to those without children. In fact, those without children usually end up having to work in place of the parents who are constantly not there. Ask me how I know. Parents constantly take off using their children as the excuse.

Men with children used to work every scrap of overtime possible at most jobs. That has changed too. I work the bulk of the overtime where I am in my department because the parents (all fathers) almost never work any. Online forums discussing this issue are easy to find.


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