Economics

The New Gender Gap

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Women in their 20s are now earning more than men in New York, Dallas, and several other major cities, according to a new analysis of 2005 Census Bureau survey data:

Women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men's wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent….Women in their 20s also make more than men in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and a few other big cities….

In jobs that were once defined as male preserves—including police officer and private investigator—where gender barriers are crumbling, young men and women in New York had the same median wages: a little more than $40,000. And women in their 20s now make more than men in a wide variety of other jobs: as doctors, personnel managers, architects, economists, lawyers, stock clerks, customer service representatives, editors and reporters.  

Possible reasons mentioned in the New York Times article include women's overrepresentation among college graduates and a tendency to get serious about their careers sooner than men, who are less worried about getting too old to have children. Feminists have long cited men's tendency to earn more than women (a pattern that persists in other age groups and other parts of the country) as prima facie evidence of sex discrimination. But when women start earning more than men, the explanations hinge on the different choices that men and women make. If the wage gap appearing in these cities spreads to the rest of the country, will men start complaining that they earn 86 cents for every dollar that women do, simply because they have the wrong genitalia?

I, for one, am thankful for the gender-associated wage gap in my household, which is even bigger than the overall disparity in Dallas.

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  1. Where were these sugar mommas 10 years ago when I was in my 20’s?

  2. Yeaaaaa:

    “I, for one, am thankful for the gender-associated wage gap in my household, which is even bigger than the overall disparity in Dallas.”

    AGREED!!!!!! (same hier)

  3. I third that emotion. All hail gendergap! If we were living on my salary, we’d be a boxhold.

    Feminists have long cited men’s tendency to earn more than women (a pattern that persists in other age groups and other parts of the country) as prima facie evidence of sex discrimination. But when women start earning more than men, the explanations hinge on the different choices that men and women make.

    You gotta problem wit’ dat? Isn’t it plausible that there could be some wage-differences that reflects discrimination, and some wage differences that reflect choices?

    We know for damn sure where the gap between Ms. Ledbetter and her colleagues came from.

  4. Please god, let gender-associated wage gap enter my house and increase my wifes pay. I can already envision me starting to work half-days. THis is the greatest day of my life!!

  5. Women seem to snap out of the extended adolesence that we grant to our yutes way before the dudes nowadays.

  6. Women have to earn more for several decades now to make up for the decades that they earned less. We need equal outcomes, not equal oportunities.

  7. So what happens over the long term when many of these women drop out of the workforce to have children? I guess it used to be that a person would work at the same job for decades, but now the chances that the 20 year-old will still be at your place of business when she starts hearing that clock is pretty low anyway. I think this article suggests that women aren’t discriminated against due to gender anymore. It suggests that women who have less experience later on in life because they took time off might have a problem though.

  8. de stijl wins the thread, and with a substantive comment, too!

    Girls are developmentally ahead of boys at all stages up until adulthood. I know a lot of guys who took their degree and tended bar for a couple years – not so moany women.

  9. “not so moany women.”

    Freudian slip, there, joe 🙂

    or:
    “not so[,] moany women.”

  10. “You gotta problem wit’ dat?”

    Yeah, because only an ideologue would believe that all sex discrimination is against women and all good choices are made by women.

  11. Women seem to snap out of the extended adolesence that we grant to our yutes way before the dudes nowadays.

    Dude, come to work with me one day. It’s a cackling, pornographic, bad sorority house of sub-25-somethings stuffed into a non-pofit.

    The guys, what few straight ones we have, are frightened of them.

  12. So, what about the geographic bias of this trend – women in this cohort earning more in big cities, but less elsewhere?

    Availability of certain types of jobs is one possibility.

    More liberal attitudes towards gender roles in bluer areas is another.

  13. I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but women also seem much less likely to spend time arguing on message boards and blogs.

  14. or if you are, you might have to have several internet back stories to titillate the basement dwellers

  15. My ego prevents me from dating a woman who makes more than me. This is evidence that there are now potentially more women making more than me. That means there are less women I can date. I find this troubling.

  16. VM,

    Not so moany, women!

    Scott66,

    Are you under the impression that “Isn’t it plausible that there could be some wage-differences that reflects discrimination, and some wage differences that reflect choices?” is somehow contradicted by “Yeah, because only an ideologue would believe that all sex discrimination is against women and all good choices are made by women?”

  17. joe –

    “Isn’t it plausible that there could be some wage-differences that reflect discrimination, and some wage differences that reflect choices?”

    well spake!

    i’d like to add “what was going on in the jobs market when individuals were hired” to capture if it was a employer’s or employee’s market.

    MOANY WOMBY VAULTAGE!!!!!

    MOANY WOMBY.

  18. VM,

    How do think “employee’s or employer’s market” would effect gender differences in pay?

  19. So the affirmative action overlords now have to start subsidizing the wages of males? Cheque please!

  20. Affirmative action doesn’t involve subsidizing wages.

    It is plausible, though, that companies could decide they’ve got too few males at some point in the future, and make an affirmative effort to balance their staffs.

    The companies’ staffs, I mean. Not…nevermind.

  21. individually – when you hear “well, bill earns more than mary, and they’re equally qualified and work the same job”

    You’re hired during a downturn, and the employer hires you on at the lower end of the pay grade. A few months later, things in the industry improve, and a new person is hired at the high end of the pay scale.

    like that. (and yes that would probably balance out in the wash, but when discussing this theme recently, that was offered as “proof” of sexism. I’d say when and where it rears its head, it’s disguised in that subtle, “can’t you take a joke” way. barf)

  22. Joe,

    The dat that I have a problem with refers to the quote you provided not your comment that comes after the dat.

  23. It really wasn’t a part of the 10,000 foot view, rather it reflected a viewpoint in a discussion of late.

    aw. never mind. i still like your larger point.

    HOORAY BIER!!!!

  24. VM,

    Maybe I’m slow today, but how does that intersect with gender?

    Scott66,

    Ah, I misunderstood.

  25. Travis,
    “Please god, let gender-associated wage gap enter my house and increase my wifes pay. I can already envision me starting to work half-days. THis is the greatest day of my life!!”

    Um…This is actually my life. My wife works and I stay home with the baby (because her wages are much higher than my potential). I have my mother come in and babysit 3 days per week, and the girl goes to daycare the other 2 days per week.

    I spend the days on various hobbies and posting here.

    I don’t even cook or clean.

    I am a gentleman of liesure.

  26. joe,
    A possibility is that education is a bigger factor in more jobs you find in big cities, not necessarily red-state male chauvinism.

  27. it only did because someone was using her position on the pay scale (also hired in a relative low, according to her, later) compared with a male counterpart (who was hired in a boom, according to her, later) – so she used that experience to “prove” the gender gap.

    again – your comment only reminded me of that discussion. otherwise, pay it no heed.

  28. anomdebus,

    That’s what I was getting at with Availability of certain types of jobs is one possibility.

  29. a headwound of a nyc blog that i read sometimes when i need larfs had the obligatory “oh man now nerds aren’t going to be able to get dates anywhere in the city!”

    fucking nerds.

  30. I’d like to narrow the wage gap in our household, but it has nothing to with gender and everything to do with chosen profession.

    He works as a multi-unit supervisor for a restaurant franchise (read: decent pay, paid expenses and monthly bonus checks) while I work as a postdoctoral scientist for a start-up company (read: less net pay than I grossed in graduate school, no expenses and what the fuck is a bonus check?).

    If only I knew then what I know now…

  31. Timber imagine bantu diffusible demise autumn egress acknowledgeable gibbet rapier debugger annuity metzler a.

  32. Here in Silicon Valley, it’s extremely common to see a woman who is extremely liberal and feminist, who is capable of supporting herself as a professional, drop out of the workplace to have kids. Most women in that demographic have a husband who earns enough to support the family on one salary; the opportunity to stay home and raise the kids is just too good to pass up.

    I’ve never seen these women as pissed off as when Linda Hirshman wrote an article in The American Prospect” criticizing feminists who make the choice to stay home:

    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=10659

  33. Hey look! It’s Enaj from my spam folder! Poor guy has some sort of speech impediment… affects his syntax, but he’s a prolific writer.

    O_o

  34. Timber? Imagine, Bantu: diffusable demise, autumn egress. Acknowledgeable? Gibbet, rapier, debugger, annuity…

    – metzler a.

  35. You know, Mike, I’ve worked hard to overeducate myself into this position and now that I’m a mother I would give it all up in a heartbeat if I could.

    I’ve only been allotted the one lifetime, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to spend that lifetime writing grants (all libertarian objections to federal funding of research aside). I think of what I’m missing sitting here in this office, at this computer, talking with you schmucks every day (and I say that with all love and affection), and it kills me that I can’t be at home with my baby and my hobbies.

    It’s a self-indulgent fantasy I know, but family and creative pursuits are far more fulfilling for me than making money for somebody else.

  36. And I meant to end that with, “Fuck feminism; this is my life, not a political statement.”

  37. my wife had a pretty good wage gap over me before we were married, but now she’s a phd student in literature so uh yeah uh yeah uh yeah i am going to work forever 😥

  38. “Fuck feminism; this is my life, not a political statement.”

    Your life is a political statement, the personal is political. You can’t be a real woman unless you do what the feminists want you to do. That means having a career and abortions, and having babies later but not taking time out from work.

  39. Yeah and it means slinking off to a corner in the hallway to express milk because I refuse to do it in the handicap toilet stall. Ongoing and needs-to-be-updated saga of this employed dairy cow hier.

    *checks*
    Two o’clock.
    It’s milkin’ time!

    There you go, fellas. There’s your visual for the next 20 minutes. Enjoy!

  40. Oops. Bronwyn, I should have added a disclaimer that no snarkiness should be read into my comment. The women I was writing about are my wife and good friends, and I totally support their right to choose what they want to do with their own lives.

  41. Oh Mike, I knew that. I was playing off your sarcasm 🙂

  42. Anyone want to guess what this will do to the birth rate among the middle class?

  43. Good Harold, I need a nap.

    Mike, darling. I meant that I understood your intent and was sending my snark to the afore-mentioned Linda Hershmans of the world.

    I’m going to just stfu right this very second.

  44. I, for one, welcome our new fat-bottomed overlords….

  45. I didn’t emotionally mature until age 40. But the emotionally mature 20 year old woman won’t go out with guys as old as me, and the emotionally mature 40 year old women all have 20 year old boy toys. What’s an emotionally mature 40 year old guy to do?

  46. My wife earns about five times what I could make working full-time. Applying the economic law of comparitive advantage, plus the top-tier marginal tax rates that would apply if I added my income to hers, means it makes more sense for me to stay home and do all the scut work and kid-raising while she earns the big bucks — and gives me time to post on these threads.

    Hooray for the gender wage gap!

  47. What’s an emotionally mature 40 year old guy to do?

    ‘Bate.

  48. This is great! I can hire women for analyst positions who are bright, talented and easy on the eye. When they’re starting to get expensive, they quit work to reproduce and I hire more bright, talented, cheap, and easy on the eye analysts!

    Score!

  49. What’s an emotionally mature 40 year old guy to do?

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3710987618964917848&hl=en

    (NOT SAFE FOR WORK/MIND/SOUL)

  50. I didn’t emotionally mature until age 40. But the emotionally mature 20 year old woman won’t go out with guys as old as me, and the emotionally mature 40 year old women all have 20 year old boy toys. What’s an emotionally mature 40 year old guy to do?

    If you want kids, find an emotionally mature 30-35 year old. If you don’t want any ankle-biters, find someone your age or even a bit older. If you want to increase the pool even more, look for a divorcee or widow around 30 y.o. — lots and lots of really nice available women in that age group out there, overlooked by the guys looking for single 20-somethings — just make sure they weren’t the ones who deep-sixed their relationships (or, worse yet, their husbands, in the case of the widows).

    Good luck!

  51. 30 years old, here, married to a 37 year-old, and just birthed ourselves our first weejun.

    When I was in my 20s it was very clear to me that I’d only find Mr. Right when I aimed for older.

    Ooh damn, I said I’d stfu. Right. Going now.

  52. It’s bad enough we let our females work and make money, but how in God’s name do we justify allowing them to wear clothes?

  53. There you go, fellas. There’s your visual for the next 20 minutes. Enjoy!

    Huh??

    It has been my experience that naked breasts are only appealing when they are not lactating.

    Cuz you know that kid would get in the way of my d…

  54. You gotta problem wit’ dat? Isn’t it plausible that there could be some wage-differences that reflects discrimination, and some wage differences that reflect choices?

    Yes, in fact it is exactly less plausible then both wage differences reflecting choices.

  55. Heh. See, Joshua, the “enjoy” was facetious. I know most men are squicked by the sight of Tits At Work (as opposed to just tits at work, to which I’ve heard few men object).

    Even if we make allowances for the beauty of a child at the breast, there is absolutely nothing sexy or even remotely pleasant about the sight of plastic attachments and tubes at the breast.

    Hell, I get squicked by it and I have to do it!

  56. If you are a woman, go into a field where women are traditionally underrepresented. A field where all of the executives are men. You can be the most incompetent person ever, get fired, and have a job offer waiting for you the next day because the firms need to fill quotas. This works especially well with a company that has government contracts.

  57. Dude, come to work with me one day. It’s a cackling, pornographic, bad sorority house of sub-25-somethings stuffed into a non-pofit.

    The guys, what few straight ones we have, are frightened of them.

    That sounds like a “hostile workplace environment” to me. Perhaps the men should sue.
    Oops! Silly me, I forgot that only works for bitche….er, women.

  58. The NYT’s figures are inconsistent (the article’s probably just fluff, anyway). Check this chart, linked to in the article, and explain how the (weighted) average of the values (117%) is higher than any of the values being averaged (100, 107, 108 and 89%):
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/03/nyregion/20070803_WOMEN_GRAPHIC1.html

  59. “Dude, come to work with me one day. It’s a cackling, pornographic, bad sorority house of sub-25-somethings stuffed into a non-pofit.”

    There is your problem, you need to go to work for a for-profit enterprise.

  60. test, test… profit, seeking profit. cackling, pornographic bitches would be a bonus.

  61. Silly me, I forgot that only works for bitche….er, women.

    No, it doesn’t always work for us bitches, either. I wish it did.

  62. Several experts also said that rising income for women might affect marriage rates if women expect their mates to have at least equivalent salaries and education.

    Well, more middle class single women are buying houses on their own and going for artificial insemination. The numbers are still small but increasing. Autogamy is a more feasible lifestyle now.

  63. Mr. FLeM,

    explain how the (weighted) average of the values (117%) is higher than any of the values being averaged (100, 107, 108 and 89%):

    35.7/30.6 = 1.1666 which rounds to 1.17

  64. The NYT’s figures are inconsistent (the article’s probably just fluff, anyway). Check this chart, linked to in the article, and explain how the (weighted) average of the values (117%) is higher than any of the values being averaged (100, 107, 108 and 89%):
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/03/nyregion/20070803_WOMEN_GRAPHIC1.html

    They’re talking about the median salary, not the average (weighted or otherwise).

  65. de stijl:

    Women seem to snap out of the extended adolesence that we grant to our yutes. way before the dudes nowadays.

    otherwise, spot on.

  66. Silly me, I forgot that only works for bitche….er, women.

    No, it doesn’t always work for us bitches, either. I wish it did.

    But I did not say that it always works for women*. I said it only works for women.
    I am glad that it doesn’t always work for women; I wish that it never did.

    *or bitches, or baracudas, or other terms for predatory females. (One wonders why there are so many terms. Rather odd.)

  67. Women have to earn more for several decades now to make up for the decades that they earned less. We need equal outcomes, not equal oportunities.

    Juanita, I see your argument: Half of my ancestors were oppressed by half of yours, therefore you owe me money.

    BTW – do we need equal outcomes in the judical system as well?

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