8 Reasons Why The "Gender Pay Gap" Is A Total Sham


Photo: maitviaFlickr

According to all the media headlines about a new White House report, there’s still a big pay gap between men and women in America. The report found that women earn 75 cents for every dollar men make. Sounds pretty conclusive, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. It’s misleading.According to highly acclaimed career expert and best-selling author, Marty Nemko, “The data is clear that for the same work men and women are paid roughly the same. The media need to look beyond the claims of feminist organisations.”

On a radio talk show, Nemko clearly and forcefully debunked that ultimate myth – that women make less than men – by explaining why, when you compare apples to apples, it simply isn’t true. Even the White House report: Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being explains why. Simply put, men choose higher-paying jobs.

Here are 8 reasons why the widely accepted and reported concept that women are paid less than men is a myth. And, in case you’re wondering, Nemko’s source of information is primarily the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics – rock solid.

This post originally appeared at BNET.

1. Men are far more likely to choose careers that are more dangerous, so they naturally pay more.

Top 10 most dangerous jobs (from the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics): Fishers, loggers, aircraft pilots, farmers and ranchers, roofers, iron and steel workers, refuse and recyclable material collectors, industrial machinery installation and repair, truck drivers, construction laborers. They're all male-dominated jobs.

2. Men are far more likely to work in higher-paying fields and occupations (by choice).

3. Men work in less desirable locations.

Men are far more likely to take work in uncomfortable, isolated, and undesirable locations that pay more.

4. Men work longer hours than women do.

The average fulltime working man works 6 hours per week or 15 per cent longer than the average fulltime working woman.

5. Men are more likely to work on weekends.

Men are more likely to take jobs that require work on weekends and evenings and therefore pay more.

6. Even within the same career category, men are more likely to pursue high-stress and higher-paid areas of specialisation.

For example, within the medical profession, men gravitate to relatively high-stress and high-paying areas of specialisation, like surgery, while women are more likely to pursue relatively lower-paid areas of specialisation like pediatrician or dentist.

7. Unmarried women who don't have children actually earn more than unmarried men.

Unmarried women who've never had a child actually earn more than unmarried men, according to Nemko and data compiled from the Census Bureau.

8. Women business owners make less than half of what male business owners make, which, since they have no boss, means it's independent of discrimination.

The reason for the disparity, according to a Rochester Institute of Technology study, is that money is the primary motivator for 76% of men versus only 29% of women. Women place a higher premium on shorter work weeks, proximity to home, fulfillment, autonomy, and safety, according to Nemko.

It's hard to argue with Nemko's position which, simply put, is this: When women make the same career choices as men, they earn the same amount as men. As far as I'm concerned, this is one myth that has been officially and completely busted. Maybe you should celebrate International Women's Day 2011 by empowering women with the truth instead of treating them like victims … which they're not.

If you agree or disagree with that, we'd love to hear it.

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