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It's 2015 and We Still Have a Gender Pay Gap


It's 2015 and We Still Have a Gender Pay Gap

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

It's been more than five decades since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, but as a new report documents, the gender pay gap is ongoing and pervasive.


I'm saddened to see Common Dreams using misleading framing to discuss the issue of the pay differences between men and women.

Take, for example, the subhead:

The pay disparity 'can't be explained away by choice of occupation or the experience lost due to time out to care for children'

In fact, it would have been more accurate to highlight the fact that most of the raw pay disparity between men and women CAN be explained by choice of occupation or experience lost due to time out to care for children (and other dependents), as the source cited in the article (Payscale) acknowledges. By using the vague phrase "THE pay disparity" (as if there is only one, when the source itself says otherwise), it plays into the prejudices of low-information readers who have come to believe the highly distorted framing of this issue which suggests there is a massive (i.e. 25%) pay disparity between equally qualified men and women working the same jobs, when this is simply not the case.

Now as to whether the actual pay disparity between equally qualified men and women working the same jobs — 2.7%— is the result of discrimination or not is a good question. It's true that it can't be explained by occupation choice or time off from work. The CONSAD study (which was undertaken about a decade ago) found a similar unexplained difference in pay, but noted that the latitudinal and longitudinal job and compensation data required to explore the source of this difference simply didn't exist. If Payscale has somehow accumulated that data and has been able to verify that the discrepancy is caused by discrimination, then that's certainly an important issue that deserves attention.

In the absence of that data, though, I'm not sure if the focus on this pay discrepancy does more to serve the interests of egalitarianism, or if it merely fuels a largely unfounded narrative which is divisive of progressive forces.


Ah, but you're exposing your patriarchal tendencies! Data, objectivity, rationality - that's all male. It's violent, a form of rape, key pillars of the rape culture. You should be ashamed - bringing up facts. Misogynist.


It's election season. We have to elect Hillary a woman.


Facts during an election? Whoever heard about such a thing?


I knew that there was going to be significant let's-elect-a-woman sentiment among some parts of the Democratic base which was going to tilt things in Hillary's favor against a possible progressive challenger. I was very disappointed that Elizabeth Warren decided against running and undercutting Hillary's advantage in that aspect. I don't know if she's as progressive as Bernie, but I think she would have had a better chance against Hillary.


I think Cloudchopper is being tongue in cheek.


I appreciate the basic sentiments. I'm not quite sure that argument works, though. It certainly fails to explain how racism works in relation to pay.


You obviously didn't understand what I just wrote.

Your explanation can not explain a differential in pay related to race.

You seem to have a fantasy of perfect competition and rationality, that is clearly false.


Well, that's not my understanding, and that's from talking to economist friends. (Real economists who do history of economic though, rather than mere "econometricians" - a fancy way of saying "calculators of regressions".) So, if you've got information, I'd be interested to have a look.