Equal Pay

'Equal Pay for Equal Work?' We're Almost There

In a 33-country study, the pay gap between men and women working the same jobs was just 1.6 percent.

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Metropolico.org/Flickr

"Equal pay for equal work" has become a hot rallying cry once again. While it varies slightly depending on the source, the general axiom is that women workers make just 75 to 85 percent of what their male counterparts do. And that is correct—when you compare the average female wages within a company, country, or employment sector to average male wages in that area. But when you consider men and women performing substantially similar jobs—i.e., situations in which the sexes are actually doing "equal work"—the wage gap shrinks significantly. A new examination of wage data from 33 countries around the world found that for men and women in the same position, men made just 1.6 percent more on average. 

The study, from the Hay Group, encompassed more than 8 million workers. Overall, women were found to earn about 18 percent less than men, a finding researchers attribute to the lack of women in high-paying executive roles and their over-representation in areas such as service and clerical work. 

Broken down by country, the only place where the wage gap favored women was the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where female workers made about 2 percent more than male workers in the same positions. The overall wage gap there also worked in women's favor, albeit very slightly, with women's wages outpacing men's by less than one percent.

Mexico, the U.K., Russia, the Netherlands, and Spain were among countries with the highest gaps between female and male wages, with men making around 25 to 35 percent more on average. But the wage gap between men and women in the same position was virtually non-existent in Russia, and in no country was it over five percent. 

In a classic shifting-goalposts move, many progressives will now tell you that of course they haven't been meaning to imply that men make 25-35 percent more than women working the same jobs. (To be clear, many fighting for "equal pay" will still tell you that that's exactly what the "gender wage gap" references.) They know that the larger gap comes from comparing all workers within a company, country, etc., but that even so, it's a troubling number because it shows how women are still lacking in leadership roles and clustered in certain job sectors that tend to be less remunerative. 

Whether those are issues we should even want to or can "solve" is an argument for another time, but we can probably all agree that they are different issues, qualitatively, than women being economically discriminated against by employers, not negotiating their pay hard enough, or any of the other things floated as reasons why women earn less. Men and women working the same jobs are managing to make the same salaries pretty well, it seems. If we want to talk about whether we need and how to get more women CEOs or senators or STEM majors, fine, but that conversation will be better served by not unnecessarily conflating it with the issue of "equal pay." 

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  1. Equal Pay for Equal Work is just another variation on Equality of Outcomes, or Income Redistribution. There is no such thing as Equal Work because no two people are exactly alike in abilities and therefore are incapable of producing the same amount of wealth.

    1. And while I think it is a good default to assume that men and women, generally and broadly speaking, have mostly the same abilities (excepting maybe physical strength), there is no good reason to assume that the sexes will or should make the same choices and have the same outcomes.
      The assumption underlying all of this is that if all unfair sex discrimination were eliminated, then outcomes would be equal on average. But I don’t think that is a good assumption to make.

      1. Listen, Zeb, all men and all women are exactly equal in all things. The fact that you believe otherwise proves that you are a disgusting misogynist shit-heel.

      2. It is odd to argue we have different preferences, but not different abilities in a large enough sample size.

        1. How is it odd that odd to notice that men and women in general have different preferences. Women seem to be over represented in fields like education, while men seem to be over represented in most STEM fields. We can argue about the cause of those differences, but it’s hard to argue that the differences don’t exist.

        2. Odd things do happen.

          But I’m not really arguing that. Just saying that I don’t know, so I start with the assumption that men and women have similar abilities in most kinds of work that don’t require a lot of brute strength.

    2. “Equal Pay for Equal Job” isn’t as catchy.

  2. If we want to talk about whether we need and how to get more women CEOs or senators or STEM majors, fine…

    Is this whole article a subliminal way of getting me to vote Hillary. Because I’ll do it.

    1. Clearly, this just further PROVES that Reason is in the tank for Hillary and ENB is a proggie shill. /sarc

  3. They know that the larger gap comes from comparing all workers within a company, country, etc., but that even so, it’s a troubling number because it shows how women are still lacking in leadership roles and clustered in certain job sectors that tend to be less remunerative.

    When a lefty points out inequality, their goal is always outcome based equality. Always. 100% of the time.

    1. When a lefty claims to b pointing out inequaliy, his goal is always to parade his moral superiority. There may or may no be any actual inequality, and he doesn’t give a fat damn whether his proposed ‘solution’ will do anything to solve it if there is.

  4. Am I a cis-gendered shitlord or is 1.6 probably within the margin of statistical error and therefore, close enough?

    When did Reason turn closet prog?

    1. Both?

      I’d say it’s close enough to say that there really isn’t any discrimination in pay for substantially similar jobs.

      When did Reason turn closet prog?

      Unless you stopped reading at the headline, I’m not sure where you are getting that.
      Or if “prog” means celebrating actual social progress on things like treating women equally in the workplace, I’m OK with them being a little progressive.

      1. Unless you stopped reading at the headline

        REEDING IZ 4 FAGZ.

      2. Or if “prog” means celebrating actual social progress on things like treating women equally in the workplace, I’m OK with them being a little progressive.

        And people are skeptical when I say that a large group of H&R writers and commenters are on the SJW train in intention, if not in solution.

        When did Reason turn closet prog?

        It’s not that they’re progressive, it’s that they’re arguing on the progressive SJW battlefield, so they can’t help but sound like a progressive SJW, even when they’re disagreeing with the SJW establishment.

  5. Standard moving the goal posts

    “Equal Pay For Equal Work! Women Get Paid 3/4th What A Man Does”

    “Well actually Women get paid 98% the same for Equal Work, and the difference is likely due to men being more likely to negotiate”

    “Uh…… Racist / Sexist / Misogynist”

    /Science ones again proves them wrong

    “Well… that’s not what we *actually* meant”

  6. Mission fucking accomplished. Feminism has won in the west, suck it patriarchy! Now let’s unleash feminism on the Islamic world. It will obliterate them! Muahahahahahah.

    1. It will obliterate them!

      Which one, the Islamic or feminism? I’m good either way, I’m just curious who we’re trying to destroy today.

      1. *Islamic world*

  7. No two jobs are exactly alike and no two employees are exactly alike. I don’t see how these comparisons are in any way meaningful.

    1. Then you need to collectivist harder!

    2. That’s because of your intersectional bias, which I think is code for grumpy white man testicles. You have to castrate yourself to be cleansed from wrongthink.

    3. On top of that, there’s the simple fact that comparing my salary to what someone else makes is pointless. I compare my salary to my needs and wants. I think I’m getting fair compensation in my current position and it satisfies my needs; what more do I need to know?

      1. Envy is a big motivator for a lot of people.

    4. I think you can still find jobs that are substantially similar and extract some meaningful information based on averages. It can’t tell you anything about any particular employment arrangement, but that doesn’t mean it is completely meaningless. Comparing the entire workforce in a company or a country is pretty meaningless, though.

  8. the only place where the wage gap favored women was the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where female workers made about 2 percent more than male workers in the same positions.

    Just what are those women doing for their extra pay?

    1. Sheiking it?

      1. Playing hide and Sikh?

    2. Not selling bras?

    3. Maybe the fact that that happens in a country which is overtly and officially sexist indicates that it’s not really a problem of discrimination and bias.

    4. I imagine being an oil sheik’s concubine is a pretty high paying position.

      1. Are there a lot of men in similar positions to compare to? I thought that sort of thing was frowned upon over there (to say the least). But you never know who’s on the DL I guess.

  9. This is anecdotal, but the women I know who have improved their wages have done so by a shockingly radical process: improving their job skills.

    1. Or making sacrifices. What a concept.

      1. Exactly. I’ve passed on chances to make more money because I didn’t like the tradeoffs. Making choices like that is just part of being a grownup. (Heh or it was, back in the dim and distant 20th century.)

    2. Women are too busy being brave and empowered, you can’t expect them to also be capable.

  10. Can we now talk about the huge disparity in on the job serious injuries and death between the sexes? We are not even close to equality in that respect.

  11. One of my female coworkers got her job (and salary) based upon the number of years she has been employed in the field. So she’s at a senior pay grade. Thing is, she gets nothing done. Literally. Nothing. She claims to have ADD, which means they can’t fire her for her lack of performance because she could sue them on grounds that she has a disability. That means she gets paid for senior level work, while getting literally nothing done. I have never had a vacation in my life, yet every year she visits some foreign country. Fucking pisses me off. Not because she’s a woman who gets extra pay for no work, but that she can use the ADD excuse to get paid to do nothing. Did I mention that she gets nothing done?

    1. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    2. That’s where disability laws really go off the rails. It’s one thing to provide a desk that works for someone in a wheel chair, or something like that. But to have to accommodate a disability that means you can’t do the work you are hired to do is simply absurd.

      1. Yep. She’s still doing work on an aspect of the project that everyone else completed in August. I have no idea what she does at her desk. I think she’s looking for code (I work in software) that is similar enough to what she needs to do that all she would need to do is change the names of some variables/methods/classes. But obviously she hasn’t she’s useless. Has been for years. Yet she’s at a senior pay grade. Pisses me off.

      2. Well-intentioned laws going OTR?

        I’ll believe it when I see it.

        PS. My eyes are sewed shut.

      3. Except that is not really the law. The accommodation has to be reasonable. An airline does not have to hire a developmentally disabled pilot.** I suspect the problem here is not that the employer would actually lose a discrimination lawsuit, its that they don’t want to have the hassle of being sued in the first place. Or some boss likes and protects this person because office politics. Not making a normative statement, just saying I don’t think you have to accommodate a disability that prevents the employee from actually doing the work.

        **Obligatory “My ex wife was ‘tarded. She’s a pilot now.”

    3. That’s not true, she is getting something done.

      She’s helping your company meet it’s minority and disability quotas.

      1. She’s doing you all real good and hard

      2. My employer is a government contractor. As long as they can bill her hours, they don’t have an incentive to care.

    4. All you need to do is get your hands on some of her Adderall and your productivity levels will increase over 9,000.

      1. I don’t think she takes meds. Maybe that’s the problem.

    5. Since when is ADD considered a disability? I’d fire her and see her in court.

      1. I’m not in management, so it’s not my decision. If it was I’d fire her in a heartbeat.

        1. Employer is required to make reasonable accomodations. In an ADD case that may be an office with a door. Beyond that, she would be expected to perform. Sounds like you’ve got some managers who just don’t want to deal with it.

    6. Then your boss is a pussy.

      I’d get her to resign inside of two weeks.

    7. That’s funny because my mom has ADD and is pretty much incapable of doing nothing. She’s been self-employed for years and she also volunteers and has several hobbies. Hmm, it’s almost like getting a diagnosis from a therapist doesn’t mean you have to throw your work ethic out the window.

    8. I thought you worked at a laundromat.

  12. 1 in 4
    79%
    half of all marriages
    99%
    8% of buttplugs

  13. We can thank the minimum wage increases for this.

    Unskilled women in the labor force lose their jobs and stop bringing down the averages.

  14. It’s possible that, as a result of affirmative action pressures, such as pay gap talk, disparate impact threats, pending quotas, parity PR, etc, men are discriminated against, in terms of payment.

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