Tag Archives: gender

4 of the Biggest Myths About the Gender Pay Gap At this rate, the pay gap will not close for 200 years.

The existence of the gender pay gap is a well-documented fact. Respected institutions from the Pew Research Center to the Senate Joint Economic Committee confirm that American women make about 77 cents to the average man’s dollar. For women of color, the disparity is even steeper. Yet conservatives and anti-feminists insist the research is flawed or that it ignores social factors separating men and women. At the current rate at which women’s pay is improving, the World Economic Forum says it will take 200 years to close the gender pay gap worldwide.
This makes it more urgent than ever that we debunk myths about the falsity of the gender pay gap. Here are four of the most common.

1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work.

Anti-feminists and academic contrarians like to make the case that women are to blame for receiving lower pay because they freely choose lower-paying work. Breitbart likes to push this idea to appease its feminist-hating audience, with headlines like “Data Reveals Women Overwhelmingly Choose Lower-Paying College Majors.” In fact, studies have shown that many women avoid careers in finance and technology that typically pay more because they’ve been socialized to believe that women can’t excel in the sciences or because they lack female role models in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Some women even choose majority-female fields to avoid discrimination and sexual harassment in male-dominated workplaces, which the #MeToo movement has shown us still runs rampant.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a controversial scholar and critic of feminism (whom the Southern Poverty Law Center called out earlier this month for emboldening and legitimizing men’s rights groups) advocated this very argument in 2016 for Time. Feminists, in her view, falsely claim that:

“women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.”

Sommers refers to the well-established fact that even today, women still enter lower-paying fields, as a recent Glassdoor study shows that college majors that lead to lower-paying careers are female-dominated, while those that have more male students, like engineering, lead to high-paying jobs. According to Sommers’ line of thought, a woman should choose engineering over nursing, since she could make more money in that career path. She worries about “self-determination,” but doesn’t it limit a woman’s autonomy to suggest she choose a job path just because it is higher-paying, rather than one she is more passionate about? A better solution, many feminists have argued in response, would be to pay nurses, teachers and other largely female workers more money, rather than pressure more women to opt into certain careers just because they pay more.

Women don’t choose certain jobs because they pay less. On the contrary, historical trends show that as more women entered previously male-dominated fields, average salaries dropped in those jobs. As the Harvard Business Review explains, that’s because the jobs became less prestigious as they became female-d


“Researchers have found that the pay gap is not as simple as women being pushed into lower-paying jobs. In effect, it is the other way around: Certain jobs pay less because women take them. Wages in biology and design were higher when the fields were predominantly male; as more women became biologists and designers, pay dropped. The opposite happened in computing, where early programmers were female. Today, that field is one of the most predominantly male — and one of the highest paying.”

Sommers’ argument is also white-centric, ignoring the fact that poor women of color often do not have the same information or access to options that white women do. It is not “demeaning,” as she says, to assert that such women’s career choices are limited by their circumstances. It’s just the reality of American poverty.

2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do.

This argument has appeared in mainstream outlets such as Forbes, but it only tells part of the story of women’s employment in the U.S.

While it’s true that 31 percent of women work part-time compared to 18 percent of men, this can be largely attributed to the fact that the U.S. still lacks federally mandated family leave, unlike countries like Canada, Germany and the U.K. Without this job protection or flexibility, many women must choose part-time work over full-time. In many households, men are able to earn higher salaries than women, so lots of couples still choose to have the woman remain at home with the children while men go to work. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, “more than half of the respondents thought children were better off if the mother stayed home” while “34 percent believed they’d be as well off if she worked. Only 8 percent said they’d be better off if the father stayed home.” This commonly held belief isn’t based in fact—stay-at-home-dads can raise kids just as successfully as stay-at-home-moms. In many families, these parenting gender biases and financial factors mean that women still sacrifice their careers to raise children.

3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families.

Heejung Chung, a sociologist at the University of Kent who studies gender pay gap myths, investigated this subject last year. She found that, despite the popularity of telecommuting and remote work, this myth does not reflect the reality of most workplaces in 2018. The jobs women generally choose often do not provide the flexibility some economists think they prioritize over higher pay. Chung writes in Slate: “working in female-dominated workplaces such as care work, primary education, or places where the work tends to be largely clerical meant you were only half as likely to have access to flexitime compared to other workplaces.”

4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own.

Not true. As explained above, existing sexist social pressures will mean that women will continue to choose college majors that lead to lower-paying jobs. As the Washington Post explains, though the pay gap between younger and more educated men and women is narrower than for older Americans, male college graduates in their 20s still earn more than women the same age.

Credit: The Washington Post

Just because women today have more autonomy in decision-making when it comes to their careers than previous generations doesn’t mean we’ve finished our work in evening out the playing field. As long as male-dominated careers are seen as more prestigious; as long as girls are not encouraged to pursue higher-paying fields early on in life; and as long as working full-time as a mom continues to be a taboo, women will continue to wind up in jobs that pay less.

By Liz Posner/AlterNet

Posted by the NON-Conformist


Government failure to act means gender pay gap will remain, say MPs

The gender pay gap is likely to persist for more than a generation in the UK after the government rejected proposals to encourage flexible working and help women back into the workforce, MPs have said.

Without ministers putting their weight behind measures needed to end the “pay penalty” suffered by millions of women, the government will fail to meet its target of closing the gap within the next couple of decades, said the cross-party women and equalities committee.

The group made 17 recommendations last March, but most of them were rejected in the government’s response in January. The MPs had called for measures including three months’ paid paternity leave and devising industrial strategies for low-paid jobs carried out by women in industries such care, cleaning and retail.

Theresa May highlighted the need to close the gender pay gap in her Conservative party conference speech last year and has since told private and voluntary sector organisations employing more than 250 people they will need to report their gender pay and gender bonus gaps. The regulations, which come into effect in April, will affect about 11 million employees.

Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, said it was clear ministers had set their sights on reducing the pay gap between men and women, but would fail if they continued to ignore evidence to help achieve its goal.

She said the pay audit introduced by David Cameron was only the start and should be supplemented with concrete support in the workplace, adding: “The government says there is no place for a gender pay gap in modern Britain and has restated its pledge to end the pay gap within a generation.

“But without effectively tackling the key issues of flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities, and supporting women aged over 40 back into the workforce, the gender pay gap will not be eliminated.

“We made practical, evidence-based recommendations to address these issues. They were widely supported by a range of stakeholders including businesses, academics and unions. It is deeply disappointing that our recommendations have not been taken on board by government.”

Women earn 18% less than men on average, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The gap is closest among 20- to 30-year-olds, but balloons after women have children as mothers miss out on pay rises and promotions.

Responding to the committee’s comments, Frances O’Grady – general secretary of trade union umbrella body the TUC, said: “The government needs to up its game and tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap – not ignore them.

“This means removing the barriers that stop women getting better-paid jobs, and helping parents to share out caring responsibilities more equally. Ministers need to stop dragging their heels and challenge workplace discrimination full on.”


According to a study by consultancy PwC, published on Tuesday, Britain has a higher proportion of working women than most countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ranking of rich nations.

But the UK has failed to close the pay gap at the same pace as the average for the OECD and has a only a small proportion in full-time work, leaving it in 13th place behind the Nordic countries, Poland and Canada. However, it is ahead of France, Germany, the US, Japan and Italy.

The report, based on data from 2015, concluded that Germany was acting more slowly than the UK to close the gender pay gap and may take more than a century at the current pace. Britain is on track to take 41 years to close its gap.

Moves to match Sweden’s female work participation rate would boost GDP by £170bn, the report said. Top of the list of gender pay offenders was the financial services industry, which has a 34% pay gap, followed by the energy, utilities and manufacturing industries – where few women rise to senior positions.

A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to tackling the gender pay gap and our policies, which aim to balance the needs of employees and businesses while addressing this gap, are working.

“We now have the lowest gender pay gap on record, around 60,000 people a year are taking advantage of flexible working arrangements and the introduction of shared parental leave gives parents extra flexibility and we will continue to evaluate this as it beds in. We’re also supporting women over 40 in the workplace through the National Careers Service.

“But we know there’s more to do. That’s why we are requiring employers to publish their gender pay and gender bonus gap for the first time from April and we are giving working parents of three- and four-year-olds up to 30 hours of free childcare from September.”

By Phillip Inman/TheGuardian

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Silicon Valley Firms Are Even Whiter and More Male Than You Thought

After stalling for years, Google finally released data on the diversity of its workforce , admitting that the company is “miles from where want to be.” Lazlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, noted that “being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” adding that the company is supporting code education among historically underrepresented groups.

Image: Google

But those efforts may not be enough. Exclusive data obtained from the Labor Department by Mother Jones shows that top Silicon Valley tech firms lag far behind the general population in diversity, and that while Google is average in its recruitment of women, it has even fewer African-American and Latino employees than other major tech firms. More from Mother Jones

Posted by Libergirl

4 Messed-Up Sexist Things That Happen to Women of Color

Feminism is much more than simply addressing the wage gap, climbing the corporate ladder, or even ensuring access to abortion services. Many times racism, classism and sexism are so tightly enmeshed they’re impossible to untangle, and therefore feel like one brutal and engulfing entity. Women of color have never had the privilege to solely focus on women’s issues—gender and racial inequalities combined so often ravage both our physical and mental health. In order to advance our gender as a whole, it’s critical for all women to acknowledge and support each others’ diverse struggles and experiences.

Here are four ways women of color experience sexism differently.

1. Higher wage gap and rates of poverty….

2. Higher health disparities….It’s no surprise that women of color fare much worse when it comes to health. According to the  Center for Reproductive Rights, African-American women die in pregnancy or childbirth at a rate of  three to four times the rate of white women.

More from Alternet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Report finds gender pay gap starts just one year out of college

report published Wednesday by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) revealed that women experience an earnings gap just one year out of college, with men making an average of $42,918 one year after graduation while women make an average of $35,296.

“These figures represent a female/male earnings ratio of 82 percent, which is slightly higher than it was in 2001 when, among the same group, women earned just 80 percent of what their male peers earned,” the report said.

The report also anticipates a number of arguments critics of the pay gap often offer as explanation. “But women still earned an unexplained $13,399 less than their male colleagues did each year, even after the authors considered and controlled for factors that had a significant effect on salary, including specialty, age, parental status, additional graduate degrees, academic rank, institution type, grant funding, publications, work hours, and time spent in research.”

More from the Raw Story

Posted by Libergirl