It is very frequent that society hears the claim that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, even from President Obama himself. However, very rarely do Americans bother to check that study, or other studies regarding the same issue. Dr. Claudia Goldin, Harvard professor of economics said, “You take everyone who’s working 35 or more hours a week for the full year, find the median for women, find the median for men, and divide. It’s simple.” However Goldin then goes on to say, “It answers a particular question,” she says, “but it doesn’t say that men and women are doing the same thing. It doesn’t say that they’re working the same amount of time, the same hours during the day, or the same days of the week.” What Goldin is referring to is the “77 cent study”, a United States Department of Labor study popularized by feminists to support their claim. However, this study looks only at median income per gender, or the average each gender makes in a year. However, this study by the United States Census Bureau does not look at wages per hour, and how different the results of the latter are to the former. Thus, this study is not conclusive in proving that the wage gap exists.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal for companies to discriminate payment based on sex, as well as depress one sex’s access to labor resources, or purposefully creating labor disputes to hinder production. Thus, companies that pay employees differently based on sex are breaking the law. From this we can draw two conclusions. Either the wage gap does exist and the federal government is not enforcing the Equal Pay Act, or, the wage gap does not exist.
Additionally, pregnancy contributes to the wage gap, as well as women taking time out of their jobs to care for their children. This claim is further supported by Forbes’ investigation of the issue, which found that young, unmarried women without children can make up to $1.08 compared to their male peers. Therefore, having children can be a large detriment on women in the workforce. Some might claim that having children is not a choice, but conceiving a child is a choice, and abortion and birth control services are available to pregnant women.
Protesters in Washington, D.C. fighting for equal pay.
In addition, there is the matter of common sense, if employees can pay women less than men for the same work, then why don’t employers only hire women. This deals with simple business economics. Why would employers hire men, that will cost them more for the same work. Additionally, women make up 47% of the workforce, according to the Department of Labor. Thus, employers still have women available to hire and are not forced to hire men because of a lack of women in the workforce. Rather, women make up about half of the workforce, meaning that there are just as many men to hire as women. Also, many proponents of the wage gap suggest that the reason that companies hire both men and women because they want more money, so the more women they can hire, the better. However, if women were in fact getting paid less than men, employers would aggressively be going after women, by offering them pay raises, as well as extra benefits. As such, the argument of the gender wage gap is fiscally illogical.
Therefore, if the wage gap does exist, it can easily be destroyed by virtue of the employer’s relationship with the employee. That is to say; because the employer’s success is based on the productivity of the employee. In conclusion, if people are being treated unfairly by their employer based on sex, if all women were to go on strike, employers would be forced to give equal wages to women. The gender wage gap is an avoidable and largely unproven concept.
Agness, Karin. "New Report: Men Work Longer Hours Than Women." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
Dishman, Lydia. "What The Gender Pay Gap Looks Like By Industry." Fast Company. Fast Company, 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
"The Equal Pay Act of 1963." The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA). United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
Kessler, Glenn. "President Obama’s Persistent ’77-cent’ Claim on the Wage Gap Gets a New Pinocchio Rating." The Washington Post. WP Company, 09 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
Rousu, Matthew. "Childless Women In Their Twenties Out-Earn Men. So?" Forbes. Ed. Capital Flows. Forbes Magazine, 31 July 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.