Image Credits: Shutterstock
Equal Pay Day. The day that emotionally charged leftists have taken to social media to promote the false narrative of the “wage gap” via hashtags and whiny posts complete with blatant lies. They repeat the same tired belief: “women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns!” No matter how many times the wage gap claim is refuted, it always comes back. Of the people who promote this fictional wage gap, you have those who mean well, but are simply uninformed. These are ones whom I don’t mind at all. Secondly, there are those who are willfully ignorant and continue to promote blatant lies under the guise of promoting equal rights – these are ones who I DO mind. Hence, this column is aimed at the first group.
Let’s discuss equal pay. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination “for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.” When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, it became illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work.
Where does the statistic promoted by leftists on days like today come from, then? The “wage gap” is actually the difference between the average earnings of all men and women who work full-time. Such a gap in earnings does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, tenure, work-related bonuses, time taken off, or hours worked. For example, women are more likely to take significant time off of work to raise children, missing out on yearly raises or bonuses that they would have received had they stayed in the workforce. Women – who are biologically the more nurturing sex – also tend to gravitate towards jobs in early childhood education, nursing, or psychology, which pay significantly less than jobs in law, medicine, or the STEM fields. When such critical variables are taken into account, the “wage gap” becomes basically nonexistent.
In my experience, when presented with such evidence, leftists claim that the choices women make in terms of their education or career are not really choices. Society, they claim, pressures women to retreat from the workplace to raise children or enter field that are more nurturing, and therefore, feminine while simultaneously stigmatizing women who choose to enter fields such as engineering or science. Quite frankly, I find this argument demeaning and completely detached from reality. It’s 2017. I have never once felt that my career choices were limited by my gender. I have chosen to pursue a career in a profession that even ten years ago was very male-dominated. I never felt that I could not pursue law because of my gender nor have I ever felt that I had to pursue teaching or nursing because of my gender.
Have I received the occasional comment about my career choice from those who still believe all women should receive “Mrs. Degrees”? Sure, but to suggest that a few discouraging comments from people who know nothing about me would influence the decisions I make regarding my education, my career, and my life is completely reprehensible.
The “wage gap” as leftists present it is nothing short of a complete myth. If you are a woman working for a company and a man working the same position with the same education and experience is paid more than you, that is illegal. You should report it immediately. The gap that does exist – one in the average lifetime earnings of men and women who work full-time – is the direct result of choices made by both men and women in the workforce.
Want to help close the earnings gap between women and men? Teach girls from a young age that they can pursue any career that they are passionate about and that they shouldn’t ever let anyone make them feel as if they are limited in their choices because of their gender. Teach girls the value of fields such as STEM or medicine. Emphasize that being intelligent and pursuing careers in such fields isn’t “nerdy” or “weird.” If you’re a woman, choose a college major that you are both passionate about AND will help you enter a career field where you can not only make money, but make a difference. We all have to lie in the beds we’ve made for ourselves. When you do find a job – show up, work hard, and make yourself irreplaceable. That is how you get ahead. That is how you begin to close the lifetime earnings gap between men and women.
Or you could, I don’t know, spend your days in fantasy land whining about something that doesn’t exist instead of working, showing up to vote, and being politically engaged outside of Facebook comments and protests. Your choice, ladies.
*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the view of the FFL organization.*