February 1, 2014

"Much of the wage gap can be explained away by simply taking account of college majors."

"Early childhood educators and social workers can expect to earn around $36,000 and $39,000, respectively. By contrast, petroleum engineering and metallurgy degrees promise median earnings of $120,000 and $80,000. Not many aspiring early childhood educators would change course once they learn they can earn more in metallurgy or mining. The sexes, taken as a group, are somewhat different. Women, far more than men, appear to be drawn to jobs in the caring professions; and men are more likely to turn up in people-free zones. In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths."

Writes Christina Hoff Summers in a piece called "No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men."

ADDED: If working with people is considered a plus, such that job-seekers accept lower pay to have that kind of work, is there a problem? What if job-seekers tended to feel it was bad to have to work with others and avoided these jobs? The pay would go up. I think what we're seeing is that working with people is more likely to be a plus among women, and there are a lot of female job-seekers bidding the price down. You might say this is acceptable because it's not intentional discrimination against women; it's just everyone making individual personal choices, and a neutral market producing this effect. Those who still see a problem and want us to care should find a way to say it still matters, because the skewed preferences of women are leading to a disparate impact. I just wish they'd say that clearly and be accurate about the facts and not continually prod people to feel that there are nefarious employers deliberately short-changing women.

72 comments:

campy said...

Why does the author hate women?

urpower said...

With respect to Sommers, working with metal & oil is not a profession without "caring" & they have many co-workers who tend, presumably, to be male. If she feels unloved by these men, I should like to imagine her life absent their work. Women, I'd counter, are drawn to *controlling* professions- with immediate access to humans they're put in charge of, with the constant effort to keep the disobedient in line. 'Every woman loves a fascist...'

SteveR said...

Gee I could have written that 35 years ago. "Its not complicated" Of course its not a politically convenient thing to make that kind of observation when you can trot out that old tired 77% mantra like Obama did. I've sat in those classes and worked out in the patch, its definitely more diverse than it used to be but nothing close to equal.

William said...

Facts? Facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts.

Rob said...

Anybody with good sense, man or woman, should think about a profession that is both caring and high-paying: teaching law.

MayBee said...

It's insane that jobs like early childhood educator require a four year degree.
I don't even think elementary school teacher should take a four hear degree.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Not to rain on Sommers' parade or anything, but one of my favorite relatives is a petite Chinese lady with a world-wide reputation in hard-rock mining. Maybe she *cares* more about the rocks than her male colleagues do? I just dunno.

Hagar said...

Fred D.
You need to read up on Larry Summers.

DKWalser said...

Soon after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of improper workplace behavior (when we still took sexual harassment seriously), everyone in my firm was required to attend a workshop on gender issues in the workplace. One of the outside experts pointed to our industry's lack of women in senior positions and said that our firm (and all the other firms) needed to do something about the problem.

I asked if that would be true if the reason for the lack of women had nothing to do with discrimination but was, instead, the result of purely voluntary choices made by individual women. The speaker said, in that case, society would need to do more to change the choices of women. "You mean, change human nature?" "If necessary", was the response. The person was serious.

YoungHegelian said...

The White House should stop using women’s choices to construct a false claim about social inequality that is poisoning our gender debates.

Well, if the WH stopped making false claims that poison our gender debates, they wouldn't have much to say on the subject at all, would they?

Eric said...

Duh?

In my electrical engineering class there were three women out of about one hundred fifty graduates.

All three got engineering jobs upon graduation and none of them were still doing engineering in five years.

Jaske said...

As a stationary engineer, US Navy trained, I've delt with many females that know the cost of lubricants.
Example, Bob Cat.
Great at the emails that tell, me I'm charged.

cubanbob said...

Apples to apples if you work 77% of the hours you are going to make 77% of the money. Then there is the issue of career path choices.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Female engineers are highly recruited and paid more than their male peers. Female engineers are mostly on a faster promotion track than their male peers. So no female engineers are not paid the same as men.

Bruce Hayden said...

As I pointed out in the previous thread, women are moving towards engineering, in an apparent big way. Sure, they may prefer, deep down, to teach nursery schools, but that will never pay off their student debt.

Birches said...

I have a female cousin who just graduated with a Construction Management degree. She's working for a very large firm and also working 12 hour days. She's not married, but looks forward to having a family someday. I imagine the job will be one of the first things gone after the pregnancy test is positive.

Birches said...

I graduated from college the week before I married. I probably should have tried harder to get a "great" job, but I thought I'd be pregnant and looking for a more flexible job within the next two or three years, so I didn't really see the point. In hindsight, I see I probably could have switched jobs a few times and made a bit more money. But I had a stressless, easy, 8-5 job that paid the bills.

I did get pregnant after two years, decided when the first was 6 months old that I'd rather not work at all and now my resume is a bit outdated. Do I really care? No. The story of many women.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I have spent almost 40 years in IT, and worked with hundreds of developers and programmers.

Less than 5% were women, far less than 1% were Black.

The women in IT are usually Business Analysts or Project Managers.

And as far as the supposed unequal pay for equal work, the other day IowaHawk had the mic-drop retort to that spurious charge:

"If women get paid less for doing the same jobs, why would a capitalist ever hire a man?"

Paco Wové said...

"I just wish they'd say that clearly and be accurate about the facts and not continually prod people to feel that there are nefarious employers deliberately short-changing women."

But they have to put it that way, because the oppressor/victim paradigm is modern liberalism's primary currency – heck, its only currency – and feminism (at least, the kind of feminism that makes an issue of this) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of liberalism.

Titus said...

How does anyone live on 36k a year?

Anglelyne said...

cubanbob: Apples to apples if you work 77% of the hours you are going to make 77% of the money.

I'm pretty sure that "apples to apples" analyses had long since demonstrated that there is no wage gap. I would think anybody who was interested could easily find and examine this information. But "inconvenient truths" seem to drive inconvenient truths into the outer void these days.

Hagar said...

Then there is "the skirt at the front desk," $400/week and do "a little light typing and answer the phone," who actually is the most important employee in the firm, including "the boss."

But that is another problem entirely to explain. There very rarely are any males in that position, why do women not only apply for those jobs, but happily stay in them?
And there is the old supply and demand thing. Why should "the boss" think about it, when he hardly has to even advertise for a replacement if the one he has quits?

The Drill SGT said...

Women, far more than men, appear to be drawn to jobs in the caring professions; and men are more likely to turn up in people-free zones.

Beyond the touchee-feelee dimension, there is the risk/hazard dimension. Not many crab boat in the Arctic Ocean female fisherwomen out there, nor female coal miners or industrial farmers.


Shouting Thomas said...

My late wife and I worked at precisely the same tech job for two decades as freelancers and contractors.

We were paid precisely the same by a wide variety of employers.

My experience tells me that the equal pay political rallying cry is pure bullshit.

I worked directly for the CEO in two of my jobs. Both CEOs were very aware that the EEOC was out for scalps and political propaganda.

What reason would a sensible businessman have for risking millions of dollars to fines and litigation to save a few thousand dollars on a woman's salary?

This is a stupid discussion.

Michael K said...

My high school girlfriend graduated from Purdue in engineering. She married a high school classmate of mine and took off a few years to have her kids. She went back to work when they were older, as my mother did in the 1950s, and was president of the Society of Women Engineers a few years ago.

My medical school class had no women but medical schools are now 60% female students. After graduation a lot of women go into Pediatrics and OB. A male OB resident cannot find a job after finishing so OB has become a female specialty.

Few women go into surgery but most who do become breast surgeons. A very few women go into urology, which is a specialty that mostly deals with male patients. A few years ago, when I was still doing some expert witness work, I was asked to be a backup witness in case the female expert did poorly in her deposition. She did OK. She was a university professor.

Michael K said...

"This is a stupid discussion."

Yes but it appeals to Obama voters.

Michael said...

Young people in my industry routinely work seventy hour or longer weeks. It takes a toll. Many excellent female workers give it up sooner than the men. Those that stick it out are paid a great deal of money and a great deal more if they last ten or twenty years. Marriage takes some. The first million dollar bonus takes others. Relentless drive and high energy are valued commodities in all businesses but are not commonly found.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


This Progressive meme of unequal pay is very typical of the anti-science foundation that underlies most of their beliefs and dogmas, namely they so want what they believe, to be true, that they simply declare it so. Or put another way, what they believe ought to be true, so, therefore, to them, it is.

You can't get more anti-science (method) than that.

alan markus said...

This "77% gender gap" figure cited by Obama sounded too familiar. I remember discussions about this during the 2008 election:

Obama Pays Women Only 78 Percent of What He Pays Men (9/18/2008)

While Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has produced a television ad criticizing Sen. John McCain’s position on equal pay for women and pointing out that women in America are paid only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, Obama pays his own female Senate staffers, on average, only 78 percent of what he pays male staffers.

And the party of "the war on women":

Women on McCain’s staff, meanwhile, earn 24 percent more on average than women on Obama’s Senate staff. McCain also pays his female Senate staff members a higher average salary than his male Senate staff members.

Women occupy seven of the top 10 highest-paid positions on McCain’s staff, and five of the top 10 highest-paid positions on Obama’s staff.

Paco Wové said...

The comments on the CHS article are enlightening and depressing. Total blank denial. It can't be true, because it can't. And Koch brothers!!

Oso Negro said...

No one goes to engineering school because they are interested in people and people problems. They go because they are good at math and science and want to make a decent living.

Freeman Hunt said...

The flip side of not preferring to work with others among a population is more antisocial behavior. See then the number of men versus women in prison. Is that also a number we should try to even out? What about the disparate impact of this preference toward individuality among men?

Michael K said...

Blogger Oso Negro said...
"No one goes to engineering school because they are interested in people and people problems. They go because they are good at math and science and want to make a decent living."

Not entirely. They are good at math and science. I tutored my girlfriend in math before the SAT, but they like detail and specific information. Medicine is about memory; engineering is about reasoning. Physics is about math. Problem solving is common to all those fields. It's especially not about feelings, which is what runs the world right now.

David said...

"Oso Negro said...
No one goes to engineering school because they are interested in people and people problems. They go because they are good at math and science and want to make a decent living."

And yet, engineers have probably does as much for people as any group you can think of. Examples: clean water, modern sewerage systems, electricity, safe transportation, improved communication, the push up bra and other magnificent inventions and improvements.

fivewheels said...

Every now and then I read something that makes me want to stop reading political blogs, just cut them out of my life so I don't have to encounter so much depressing and aggravating and unfixable stupidity.

The comments on that article at the Daily Beast have probably knocked me out of commission for a while. My god.

David said...

"Freeman Hunt said...
The flip side of not preferring to work with others among a population is more antisocial behavior. See then the number of men versus women in prison. Is that also a number we should try to even out? What about the disparate impact of this preference toward individuality among men?"

On the other hand, men do very well at team sports, and whether women are equivalent in team cohesion is at least debatable. Men are good at war in part because they bond in groups well, lead well and are willing to follow a respected leader. Men, in my observation, get over conflicts more easily than women. Men can cooperate with people they dislike better than women can (again, my observation only).

Men are also more aggressive physically, which is an element in crime, and they are also slower to mature, more impulsive and more physically combative. All elements in crime.

I won't even get in to the social humiliation of men, especially black men, as an element in criminal imbalance, because it's so hard to quantify and so fraught with other issues.

I might even argue that men's antisocial behavior is more likely to be punished than the perhaps less dangerous antisocial behavior of women, but that's a long and complicated discussion.

Anyway it's interesting.

Freeman Hunt said...

Men are enjoying more money based on their preferences. Women are enjoying more freedom based on their preferences. Which is more important, freedom or money?

campy said...

Why can't women have all the freedom and all the money?

B said...

From twitter:

https://twitter.com/MattBruenig/status/429056961976348672

"People realize that women receiving less income because they bear children is sort of the definition of a sexist economic structure, right?"

Apparently it's sexist to pay someone less when they physically incapacitate themselves with child bearing and then make themselves far less available for work.

Michael said...

Campy. Many do. It is uncanny how women recognize the importance of a capital event in their husbands' enterprise and use it as an occasion to file for divorce. A simple trip to the courthouse is enough to have a big payday. And "freedom."

Hagar said...

I have been a pretty good engineer in my field though I do not do math - as distinct from number crunching - and have no gift for science, except as gee-whiz stuff to read about. Nor do I build things. In fact I am a klutz. Which is a good deal why I went to school to become an engineer so that I could get stuff built without having to do it myself.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I'm an engineer. I've worked with a few female engineers who made more than me, and a few that made far less.

The difference between them was personality. Some were driven, some were not. Some recorded their accomplishments and went into their reviews with evidence of why they deserved to be paid more, and some just went in and accepted whatever raise (if any) was offered.

Ladies, if you didn't know you needed to sell yourself in your yearly review, and make a strong case why you are worth more than what they are currently paying you (bring documentation, charts, graphs, spreadsheets - seriously!), well, here's your wakeup call.

n.n said...
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n.n said...

Compensation varies by market conditions, as well as individual productivity. Wealth creation is a function of productive gains.

Illuninati said...

As Ludwig von Mises taught us, central planners like Obama are totally incompetent at determining the prices of anything. That is the major reason that centrally planned economic models fail even when they are run by geniuses. Obama and the lefties who are promoting this clap trap demonstrate that they doesn't believe in free markets.

SGT Ted said...

Or put another way, what they believe ought to be true, so, therefore, to them, it is.

The Community Based Reality.

William said...

I work as an intelligence analyst at NSA. So far as I know the salaries of male and female analysts are comparable, but the starting salary is kind of low. I was forced to supplement my income by working as a transvestite prostitute. Despite the fact that professional accoutrements such as wigs, size 12 high heels, surgical implants, etc are far more expensive for a man than a woman, male tv prostitutes can charge only a fraction of what woman doing the exact same kind of work charges. If that isn't wage discrimination I don't know what is. And don't expect Obama to make an issue of it either.......And the story gets worse. I was working outside the Saudi Embassy, where all the big tippers congregate, when I was spotted by my boss. The son of a bitch tried to have me suspended. I complained to HR. The homophobe was fired, of course, but that's not the point. How does such a flaming homophobe rise to a supervisory position in the NSA?

PackerBronco said...

Judith: [on Stan's desire to be a mother] Here! I've got an idea: Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb - which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans' - but that he can have the *right* to have babies.

Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother... sister, sorry.

Reg: What's the *point*?

Francis: What?

Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he can't have babies?

Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

Reg: It's symbolic of his struggle against reality.

kimsch said...

B. But it's not fair that men aren't incapacitated by pregnancy and childcare. Why oh why is it only the women?

Men force women into those "caring" jobs because, gender roles. Forcing patriarchal notions of gender roles. Keeping them pregnant. And in the kitchen. And refusing to buy them shoes.

/sarc

The feminists think that women should be able to do everything they want, to include work jobs with flexible hours and years off and still be able to make exactly what the highest paid male in their profession is making. Regardless of the fact that there is less experience and time on the job when a woman takes time out to be a mom.

Hagar said...

I went through a performance review once.
They never tried that on me again.

n.n said...

kimsch:

Motherhood is a full-time job, which transitions into a part-time job, which transitions into an opportunity supported by her husband. The problem seems to be time management, motivated by priorities of sex, money, and ego, which the state welcomes as taxable activities.

n.n said...

Illuninati:

They fear that individual dignity (i.e. competition) will undermine their political, fiscal, and social standing. In order to mitigate their supporters' fear and loathing of organic systems, they present themselves as mortal gods and promise the benefits of intelligent design.

It's not a coincidence that children favor left-wing ideology. The notable distinction between children and adults is that the latter are capable of greater self-control. They are less likely to indulge in their base desires, and more likely to practice impulse control. So, they favor investment over a quick fix, where the latter usually treats symptoms while allow the disease to fester.

Unfortunately, they are not gods, not even mortal gods. Their claims to act with divine providence inevitably results in misaligned development, which typically has catastrophic consequences. However, they have enjoyed significant progress with their successful effort to normalize elective abortion and other dysfunctional behaviors, which are reducing the problem set. Their slogan is: just do what feels good, and there is ostensibly a large market for their myopic vision.

The Godfather said...

My first wife worked in the non-profit sector, and my second wife (the real wife) worked in public education. Both were paid less than I (as an objective observer) thought they were worth, and I attribute that to their being in "women's jobs". On the other hand, there were men in comparable jobs in the same offices who made the same salaries.

My career was as a lawyer in a large (eventually ginormous) law firm. When I started, women lawyers were extremely rare, but that changed over the 33 years I was there. Plenty of women made it up the ladder; they made the choice that they would either not have children, or would see their children as much as possible after their 60+ hour work week. There were other women who elected a less demanding career track, involving part-time work, so they would have more time for their children.

In my little part of the world, I have seen the opportunities for women in the work force expand tremendously. But those opportunities don't always result in women choosing to work like men.

Illuninati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Illuninati said...

n.n, I appreciate your observations. It is ironic that those same people who reject rational interpretations of the economy turn around and claim that conservatives are anti-science and are irrational.

I've been thinking about what changed with the French version of the Enlightenment which led to the Reign of Terror and which has inspired future terrors. I've come up with three innovations.
1. Radical rejection of their own Judeo-Christian intellectual inheritance.
2. Their belief that one smart man (using Newton as their example) could use "reason" to replace centuries of traditions which were the accumulated wisdom of thousands of generations who had learned certain cultural norms through painful trial and error.
3. Democide directed against your own people. I believe there is a more exact word for this concept but I can't come up with it right now. Governments have murdered members of other tribes and other nations throughout history. Sometimes there have been civil wars fought for power against armed groups who were in competition to rule the nation. The French Revolution was unique in that the democide was directed primarily against fellow Frenchmen many of whom posed no immediate threat to the ruling clique. This inwardly directed democide has been a lefty pattern in Russia, China, Cambodia and North Korea where unarmed civilians were slaughtered by the millions. When Obama and the lefties begin to stir up hatred against fellow citizens they are following a pattern which is by now very familiar.

kimsch said...

n.n. I'm a mom. A stay at home mom. The Little Guy is now 13 and Hubby is working from home, so now that I have my MBA I can try to find something. With past experience I'm worth more than a twenty-something newly minted MBA, but I know I won't be paid what a man my age, but who received his MBA in his twenties and worked constantly since then, would make.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

My definition of a bad job is one that results in injury or death of the worker. According to the BLS, women are >50% of the workforce, but sustain 1/3 of the non-fatal injuries and 8% of work related deaths.

These are old data, from back when there was real discrimination that forced men in to all the bad jobs. Probably more current data shows more dead women. That is something that women should care about.

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1998/Sep/wk5/art03.htm

Unknown said...

As Twittermeister Iowahawk once asked, “If women make less than men for doing the same job, why would a capitalist ever hire a man?”

Lyle said...

How can academic feminists get away with saying otherwise and still be creditable academics?

They should be shamed and shunned out of the academy shouldn't they?

Jeff said...

"If women get paid less for doing the same jobs, why would a capitalist ever hire a man?"

Substitute 'nonwhites' and 'white' for 'women' and 'man', and realize that most of the liberal agenda of the past 50 years is total bullshit.

The amazing thing is that so many people (a majority?) can't understand this. It isn't rocket science, after all, it's actually very simple. I've long thought that the reason leftist intellectuals are so fond of post-modernism crap is the hope that it will somehow invalidate simple truths that they don't like.

Tarrou said...

98% of workplace deaths are men. Perhaps this risk can account for the remaining 5% of the spurious wage gap.

I say we give all women a 5% raise to eliminate the wage gap when they manage to increase their numbers of dead on the job by 2,104 per year.

Laura said...

Early childhood education is easily disparaged, but has changed "just a bit" from what it used to be. Try visiting your local preschool and see what used to be taught in first grade.

Unfortunately, the sexist attitude that men only would be interested in teaching young children for the purpose of molesting them persists and drives down wages in a profession that does have an impact in shaping future leaders.

Bullying does start in preschool, unfortunately. However, it's one thing to redirect a four-year-old, quite another to do so with a sixty-five-year old. Personality disorders don't develop overnight, but at least there's hope for the four-year-old.

Laura said...
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jr565 said...

This whole article is a war on women. How dare it question basic assumptions that prove there is a war on women going on.

campy said...

drives down wages

Shouldn't an artificial restriction of the workforce drive wages up?

cubanbob said...

cubanbob: Apples to apples if you work 77% of the hours you are going to make 77% of the money.

I'm pretty sure that "apples to apples" analyses had long since demonstrated that there is no wage gap. I would think anybody who was interested could easily find and examine this information. But "inconvenient truths" seem to drive inconvenient truths into the outer void these days."

Angelyne it all comes down to career path choices and the inconvenient truth is that for the most part women who choose to become mothers are going to make less. So a woman can choose between not being a mother and all else being the same make more money or if she can find such a guy be a mother who can find a father to be the principal care-giver who in turn would earn less all things considered. Life is choices.

Douglas said...

Why are there so few women orthopedists at a time when medical schools classes are frequently over half female? For the same reason there aren't a lot of women carpenters: sawing and hammering takes lots of upper body strength. Is this a "problem"? I suppose it is in the Administration's view.

Anthony said...

So five years after Obama became president, it's still 77¢? When Reagan became president, it was 59¢; when he left office, it was 71¢. Mauve we should try some more of Reagan's economic policies to close the gap some more.

n.n said...

kimsch:

Do you regret not building a showcase of career achievements? Is your return to the marketplace motivated by a desire to be productive or something else, for example money or ego? If the latter, then you will suffer regrets. If the former, then life goes on. Perhaps you can enjoy both with an entrepreneurial endeavor.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Illuninati:

I think that there are diverse motivations, but there are convergent interests, which we observe in high level structures such as regimes, ideologies, etc.

Consider the demand to normalize abortion, which I consider to be a prototype of negative behaviors. How would you characterize an ego which is capable of rationalizing this compromise (i.e. choice)?

I suppose that in the best case, we can explain conflicts as discrepancies between individual efforts at reconciliation. In the worst case, they arise because women and men are either incapable of self-moderating behavior or unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions.

I'm not sure how or where to continue with this discussion. I'll conclude with two principles that guide my judgment: individual dignity and intrinsic value. This forces a universal reconciliation which must be further reconciled with the constraints set forth by the natural order. Religion (i.e. philosophy of morality), or just ad hoc morality, is the product of reconciliation.

Hyphenated American said...

Men live much shorter lives than women. Coincidence? I don't think so. This is democrats war against men. Discuss.