The Gender Pay Gap Is Nothing Compared To These Other Gaps

Equal Opportunity: This Saturday is Equal Pay Day. No, it’s not a new national holiday. It’s meant to represent the gender pay gap and how women are, because of discrimination, underpaid compared with men. By why stop there?


According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, women would have to work until April 10 this year to earn the same as men made last year. It’s a clever way to put a spotlight on a Census figure showing the difference in median weekly earnings between men and women.

Of course, the claim that this gap is due to gender discrimination has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked. Economists have pointed out for years that when you control for things like career choices, job risks, actual hours worked, etc., the supposed gap disappears.

There’s also a common-sense problem with the pay-gap claim. Namely, if businesses could get away with paying women less for the exact same work, why would they hire men in the first place? Are we really to assume that business owners’ hatred of women exceeds their greed?

Nevertheless, the claim persists.

So, let’s take it at face value, and assume that the gender pay gap is entirely, or mostly, the result of discrimination in the workplace. By that logic, other gender gaps must be discriminatory in nature, too.

Economist Mark Perry put this to the test and came up with some rather surprising findings.

For example, he found that men overwhelmingly occupy the deadliest jobs, and women the safest jobs. Here are the top five most dangerous jobs, and the share occupied by men:

  1. Logging: 94.9%.
  2. Fishing: 99.9%.
  3. Pilots: 94.8%.
  4. Roofers: 98.3.
  5. Garbage collectors: 91.4%.

Is this because women are wrongfully being denied these jobs?

Perry also has found a very stark gender commute-time gap. In the U.S., male workers spend an average 25.3 minutes commuting, while women spend only 17.4. That translates to a commute gap of 31.1%.

Is this another form of discrimination we should erase?

And since we’re on the topic of pay gaps, there is a very real one that is far more pernicious than the dubious gender pay gap — and that’s the yawning gap between what government workers make and what their private-sector counterparts earn.

When you factor in wages and benefits, state government workers earn as much as 42% more than those in the private sector, depending on the state, according to the American Enterprise Institute. And women occupy 54% of state government jobs, compared with 48% in the private sector. So, men are doubly disadvantaged.

Maybe we should have a private-sector pay-gap day, too.

The point of all this is to remind everyone that just because there are differences between genders doesn’t mean there is discrimination. People freely make different choices, and those choices will show up in gender-based outcomes like earnings, commute times and risky jobs.

This isn’t to say that discrimination doesn’t exist. But one would hope that public policy experts know the difference between equal opportunity and equal outcomes.


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Originally posted 2019-09-19 23:12:19.


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