Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Time for My Gender Gap Series, Again

Graphic Truth sent me a link to this piece by Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women's Forum (gal's auxiliary to wingnuttery). This is what Lukas says about the difference in average earnings between men and women:

"The simple truth is that women often make very different decisions about their careers than men make," Lukas contends. "Women take off more time to care for children; we gravitate toward different careers -- careers that provide some flexibility so we have more time to spend with families. And even full-time working women on average spend about a half-an-hour less per day in the office than men do."

The IWF spokeswoman says she is "a perfect example" of how some of the pay-gap issues work. "I'm a full-time worker, but I've traded compensation in order to work full-time from home," she notes. "I've got a little daughter and another one on the way. Am I making as much money as I could? No, but I'm compensated by having this wonderful work arrangement where I get to work flexible hours."

If this is a simple truth (which can be debated, especially when it comes to whether women should feel fully compensated by having more time (and less retirement benefits, say) for the production of the next generation which will benefit us all), it is also a very partial truth. Studies which evaluate the reasons for the gender gap in wages find that factors which might be related to "choice" do not explain all of the gap or even most of the gap. To focus only on those factors is not telling the truth, though neither is attributing the whole difference to discrimination.

If you want to learn more about this, I recommend the three-part series I wrote on the gender gap in wages.