While I myself am not a huge soccer fan, I know many of you out there are. With the Women’s World Cup semi-finals happening as we speak, I’m sure some of you are getting up early or staying up late to watch all of the action live. Womens Soccer World Cup USA vs Sweden
After the US team’s heartbreaking loss to Sweden last week, retiring superstar Megan Rapinoe was asked what her favorite memory was of her time on the national team. She said it was the role she played in establishing equal pay for US women players when compared to their male counterparts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IL366rU1QM
As many of you probably know Megan Rapinoe has been a vocal advocate of many progressive causes including the reduction of the gender pay gap here in the United States. For that reason, it was not shocking to me that she would use this final opportunity to advocate for a cause she is so passionate about. But is her passion warranted? Do men really get paid significantly more than women for doing the same job? I decided this week to look at the numbers and see what the data shows.
According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review in 2022 women on average earned 17% less than men. According to the same study, the gap widens for woman as they age. Minority women do even worse when compared to men earning roughly half as much.
At first glance these rather damning statistics are certainly worthy of outrage. However, like many things in life, this issue is more complex than it may first appear. For that reason, a deeper dive into the causes of this inequality is warranted.
The first thing you must do when comparing two things is to make sure the comparison is a fair one. In this case, I believe that is where the cause for outrage starts to lessen a bit. While I believe the data is indisputable that the median wage of white males in the US is significantly higher than any other group, could there be other reasons for this outside of systemic racism or sexism? I personally believe the answer is yes.
According to the annual Gender Pay Gap Report released by Payscale in March of 2023, it is true that for every dollar men make, women make on average eighty-three cents. However, when you compare males and females doing the same job, with the same experience and qualifications, the pay gap shrinks down to less than 1%. That is a statistic you are likely not to hear about most places because it doesn’t fit the narrative that has been created by those wishing to manipulate public opinion, and keep us all divided as a society. Payscale Gender Pay Gap Report 2023
If men and women doing the same job get paid the same, then why is there such a drastic wage gap between the genders? I believe the answer lies in the cultural expectations we have set up for the genders, and also the inherent differences that exist between men and women.
According to Harvard professor Selin Kesebir, men tend to define themselves more by their title and income than women. Because of this, she argues they are often more aggressive and competitive in the workplace. Regardless of whether these traits should result in upward mobility they often do. https://hbr.org/2019/11/research-how-men-and-women-view-competition-differently
I recognize this is a controversial thing to say, but I believe a man’s drive for money and power is the biggest reason why they are statistically more likely to receive promotions than women are. With that being said, I also fully acknowledge the “good ol’ boys club” is alive and well in far too many corporate offices.
Another major cause in the gender wage gap is the type of careers that tend to be attractive to female employees. According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education, healthcare, cosmetology and social work, have some of the highest female to male ratios in America. With my wife and mother both teachers, and my sister a social worker, I fully recognize the importance of these jobs in benefiting a society. Sadly, they also tend to be some of the lower paying industries on the pay spectrum and only widen the wage gap between the sexes.
The final aspect I’ll mention in explaining this wage gap is the fact that Census data shows that stay-at-home mothers outnumber stay-at-home dads 5 to 1. This number of women who make the sacrificial choice to put family over career is worthy of praise. It does however, widen the gender wage gap because it not only affects what women earn while raising their children, but also what they have the ability to earn if they later enter the workforce.
Being a man, I guess it’s easy for me to say I’m not receiving any special treatment and deserve what I earn. But I also recognize that the remnants of a male dominated society, that some say still exists plays a role in my own worldview. I just hope with the information I have provided, that I have made a reasonable case for why I believe the inequality and unfairness we all oppose, is not quite as pronounced as we might be led to believe.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)