Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Wage Gap

I keep saying I'm anti-feminist. Really I am pro-woman, and I feel like the feminists are fighting their hardest to stop women from embracing womanhood.

And the discussion (or lack thereof) regarding the so-called "Wage Gap" is one of the things that's eating at me right now.

I have a friend who, for a grad school project, is trying with a group to "raise awareness" of the wage gap in Utah. They are sure that all Utah women are getting paid less than all Utah men. And that that's a bad thing.

But if you really look into the whole women-being-paid-less-than-men thing, you'll discover really quickly that what is happening is women are making different choices than men, and men who make similar choices (to put family instead of business first) are ALSO making less money than other men who put business first.

There are actually two things that are messing with the "wage gap" statistic:

1. Women more often choose jobs that pay less (like nursing or teaching).
2. Women make choices within their careers that put them on a lower-pay track, like choosing to work part time to care for children or choosing to take time off from working to have babies, or choosing approaches to their careers that give them more time at home.

In other words, the feminists are NOT condemning male bosses for paying women less (which is what they think they are doing). What they are really doing is condemning women for making feminine choices (caring choices, family-centered choices) rather than acting like men.

This just boils my blood. It is so degrading and unfair for women to be condemned for choosing to make less money in order to put more important things first.

Our society only puts money first. Success is defined purely by money, and as a result all women who choose to be paid less to have more satisfaction in their lives are being told they are doing it wrong.

Let's stop belittling women for their choices and start respecting them for it. Sure there is a gap between what women are being paid and what men are being paid, on average across all fields. But this is not discrimination, and this is not cruelty. This is a reflection of the kinds of choices women are making, and it would be a better discussion if we respect that in the first place, and support them in the second.

Because these women who are causing the pay gap? They are actually making the right choice. Fixing the pay gap would destroy families because it would require women to put money first instead of family first. And that is NOT worth it.

Every time I see a cute little card or a sound bite about the "wage gap," my blood boils a little more and I end up stomping around the house, forcing myself to not respond to whoever posted the stupid (and debunked) statistic once again.

Respecting women means we respect that women are capable of making the best choices for their own lives. Even if that results in fewer girls in engineering or a pay gap.

And, once again, I am left wondering why we aren't encouraging the men to put family first, instead of encouraging the women to stop putting family first and start trying to make more money.

Freakonomics covers the topic thoroughly and with real experts here: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/.  It's well worth a read/listen.

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