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Female workers make gains but still earn less than men. It's 2011, right?
March 28, 2011 6:58 AM   Subscribe

OK News Sobering statistics in 2011 America:
  • One in three families with children relied solely on the mother's earnings in 2010, but women's earnings accounted for only about a third of married couples' income.
  • Women still earn less — about 77 cents for each male dollar.

  • Stats and FAQ:

    More stats
    Helpful FAQ from the National Committee on Pay Equity
    posted by zooropa (75 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

     
    I didn't read it, but saw a scrum about Scott Adams/Dilbert posting about women's pay going around facebook this weekend. I didn't see a post here about it, though it looked like outrage filter (and a pile-on). Wonder if in the context of this post it would make sense. The links were tumblr blogs with no verification on my part linky
    posted by k5.user at 7:05 AM on March 28, 2011


    One in three families with children relied solely on the mother's earnings in 2010, according to the federal statistics, but women's earnings accounted for only about a third of married couples' income.

    That's because women aren't paid the same as men.


    The information redundancy level in English is not high enough for me to error correct this back to something that makes sense.
    posted by DU at 7:05 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Women: the New Illegal Immigrant.
    posted by madred at 7:06 AM on March 28, 2011


    Is this for the exact same job? My husband makes much more than I do, but he works longer hours and much harder.
    posted by Malice at 7:09 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


    No justice, no peace.
    posted by Senator at 7:13 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Scott Adams reposted with an explanation recently:
    A few weeks ago I asked readers of this blog to suggest a topic they would like to see me write about. The topic that got the most up votes, by a landslide, was something called Men's Rights. Obviously the fix was in. Activists had mobilized their minions to trick me into giving their cause some free publicity. In retrospect, the Men's Rights activists probably should have done some homework on me before hatching this scheme...
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:20 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Men with children appear to get an earnings boost, whereas women lose earnings. Men with children earn about 2% more on average than men without children, according to the GAO findings, whereas women with children earn about 2.5% less than women without children.

    But how do women with no children compare to men with no children in the same job? I would be surprised to find a 25% difference in pay. I don't see the business case for that. Most greedy capitalists would seem too much concerned with profits to purposefully pay equally capable and equally productive employees differently based on gender alone.

    The elephant in the room seems to be men's failure to properly share the responsibility of raising children, but you can't sue daddies so it is perhaps more profitable for the litigation industry to assert raw gender discrimination and go after the business - that's were the money is.

    In Sweden the last big barrier to gender equality is getting men to take 50% of the responsibility of raising children. Even with last years tax incentives, most couples do not reach 50-50. The result: women in their most productive years spend less time at work than do their male counterparts. Greedy capitalists compensate accordingly, women fall behind and never catch up.

    If women would just stop having babies, I would wager in 10-20 years these differences in pay would tend towards zero.

    Now I have to run to pick up my kids from dagis.....
    posted by three blind mice at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


    I didn't see a post here about it, though it looked like outrage filter (and a pile-on).

    It was a minor shitstorm, but self-inflicted. Dude said men should deal with women they way they do small children and the mentally infirm. But it was cool, see, because he took pains to clarify that he's not saying that they're like children and the mentally infirm, but just that men should handle them similarly.
    posted by middleclasstool at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    The disparity is much lower as you sample younger demographics.
    posted by bobloblaw at 7:28 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Article from a few years ago that explores one of the social barriers to women's advancement, specifically the social risks of negotiating for a higher salary.
    posted by electroboy at 7:31 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    It’s dangerous. It’s relevant. It isn’t overdone. And apparently you care.

    Oh wow this shit is fucking hilarious, why isn't he this funny in his newspaper strip?
    posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on March 28, 2011


    I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was enjoying all of the negative attention on Twitter and wondered how I could keep it going. So I left some comments on several Feminist blogs, mostly questioning the reading comprehension of people who believed I had insulted them.

    Ah. So Scott Adams is an asshole. Glad we cleared that up.
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:32 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    As the OP, what can I do to help change this? The FAQ says "call your Senator" and help encourage some piece of legislation, but this seems simplistic. How can I as a male create positive change? (No flames or sarcasm, please)
    posted by zooropa at 7:35 AM on March 28, 2011


    But how do women with no children compare to men with no children in the same job? I would be surprised to find a 25% difference in pay. I don't see the business case for that. Most greedy capitalists would seem too much concerned with profits to purposefully pay equally capable and equally productive employees differently based on gender alone.

    I think you'll find you're wrong, if you do even the slightest amount of research.

    I'll get you started with this wikipedia article on gender income disparity in the US, which is well cited, and you can use those links to primary sources to help springboard your exploration of the topic. Included are not only research articles about the income disparity, but also studies trying to determine why it exists.

    And while I know that anecdotes are not data, the last job I worked at, I was promoted to a supervisory position well before a female who worked there longer than I did and learned that even after she was promoted to the same status as me, I was being paid about 1/4 again as much as she was, despite her nearly 10 years of seniority in the company over me.

    Gender disparity happens all the time. And it sucks.
    posted by hippybear at 7:35 AM on March 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


    Oh, it helps if I actually link the article I'm promising. Here you go.
    posted by hippybear at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    The disparity is much lower as you sample younger demographics.

    Wouldn't that be because the problem compounds over the course of a career? Joe Nobody and Jill Nobody will both start at minimum wage at Gino's East, but over the next fifty years Joe will get more raises and promotions than Jill.
    posted by shakespeherian at 7:37 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    One in three families with children relied solely on the mother's earnings in 2010, but women's earnings accounted for only about a third of married couples' income.

    OK, I agree: wage equality now for blue collar jobs. However, the above sentence is such a badly structured argument.
    posted by parmanparman at 7:41 AM on March 28, 2011


    The result: women in their most productive years spend less time at work than do their male counterparts. Greedy capitalists compensate accordingly, women fall behind and never catch up.


    This has nothing to do with greed. Look at unions, one of the key concepts I've seen among unions is that pay is based on seniority, which is based on years of experience. If a woman has less years of experience, she should be paid less than anyone (man or woman) with more experience.

    Now, I could argue that number of years in a position is a meaningless measure of value, but that's a different argument.
    posted by blue_beetle at 7:41 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Most greedy capitalists would seem too much concerned with profits to purposefully pay equally capable and equally productive employees differently based on gender alone.
    There's a reason why so many companies make discussing your salary with co-workers a firing offense. They're counting on their workers not finding out about the pay disparity.
    posted by Karmakaze at 7:44 AM on March 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


    There's a reason why so many companies make discussing your salary with co-workers a firing offense.

    Is that true? And legal?
    posted by pracowity at 7:46 AM on March 28, 2011


    Now, I could argue that number of years in a position is a meaningless measure of value, but that's a different argument.

    The only time I can say I was 'discriminated against' as a White Male, my employer used that excuse. Two women in similar jobs got larger raises because the boss expected them to stay at their current jobs. As for me, a young man, I was expected to be 'moving up' and the small company had no jobs I could be promoted into, so he assumed I wouldn't stick around, and so gave me no incentive to stay. So I didn't.
    posted by oneswellfoop at 7:51 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    There's a reason why so many companies make discussing your salary with co-workers a firing offense.

    Is that true? And legal?


    It's in my contract at my current job.
    posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:56 AM on March 28, 2011


    Is that true? And legal?

    It isn't legal in the US—"concerted activity" is protected under the Wagner Act, and the courts have consistently construed this to include, especially, the discussion of pay and working conditions—but it commonly happens anyway, and I don't think many people realize that it is illegal.
    posted by enn at 7:58 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    It is not legal to prohibit people from discussing wages, or to penalize them for doing so. http://nakedlaw.avvo.com/2010/10/can-you-be-fired-for-discussing-your-salary/

    Of course that doesn't stop your employer from firing you for "completely unrelated" reasons if you do.
    posted by sotonohito at 7:59 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Is this for the exact same job? My husband makes much more than I do, but he works longer hours and much harder.

    From hippybear's link:

    "By looking at a very specific and detailed sample of workers – graduates of the Michigan Law School – economists Robert Wood, Mary Corcoran and Paul Courant were able to examine the wage gap while matching men and women for many other possible explanatory factors - not only occupation, age, experience, education, and time in the workforce, but also childcare, average hours worked, grades while in college, and other factors. Even after accounting for all that, women still are paid only 81.5% of what men “with similar demographic characteristics, family situations, work hours, and work experience” are paid.

    Similarly, a comprehensive study by the staff of the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the gender wage gap can only be partially explained by human capital factors and “work patterns.” The GAO study, released in 2003, was based on data from 1983 through 2000 from a representative sample of Americans between the ages of 25 and 65. The researchers controlled for "work patterns,” including years of work experience, education, and hours of work per year, as well as differences in industry, occupation, race, marital status, and job tenure. With controls for these variables in place, the data showed that women earned, on average, 20% less than men during the entire period 1983 to 2000."
    posted by flex at 7:59 AM on March 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


    Actually, the Scott Adams thing was posted to MetaFilter, but ended up being deleted.
    posted by mysterpigg at 8:04 AM on March 28, 2011


    There's a reason why so many companies make discussing your salary with co-workers a firing offense. They're counting on their workers not finding out about the pay disparity.

    I've conversed with only one employee/friend about salaries at the temp job we're both working at. And I found out she was offered a dollar an hour more than me. I'll be happy to let you all know my pissed-offedness is totally gender neutral.
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Ah. So Scott Adams is an asshole. Glad we cleared that up.

    He went on to point out that nobody who understood his post was offended by it, but the implication is that if you were offended by it, you didn't understand it.
    posted by entropone at 8:31 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    His original post didn't make a lot of sense whether you read it as satire or not; his "explanation" for writing and then deleting the original post is just as confusing. He said some misogynist stuff, but it was really meant to poke at men, but it was all just a joke that lots of people took out of context because they didn't understand his point, so deleting it was also a joke, but it wasn't? And all that was just to be "interesting"? Yeah, whatever. I'm no closer to understanding what he was on about except to think he's just trolling because he's bored or something.
    posted by flex at 8:43 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    [Scott] went on to point out that nobody who understood his post was offended by it, but the implication is that if you were offended by it, you didn't understand it.

    Ahhh. The no true Scott fallacy.
    posted by Babblesort at 8:44 AM on March 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


    Fifteen years ago, when I was in high school, we were told that women with a master's degree make as much as men with a high school diploma. If you set parameters, though, you discover that young childless women in urban areas outearn their male counterparts. This is probably at least partially because urban areas have more young women than men- men can more typically get a job in the boonies, working as a diesel mechanic or a long haul trucker or something- and probably because a lot of women my age and younger absorbed that "master's degree" quip and more of them went to college and graduated than did men the same age.

    The childbearing element is a scary one, though. Elizabeth Warren has been pointing this out for years. The number one indicator of bankruptcy is parenthood. The group in the U.S. with the highest incidence of bankruptcy is single mothers. Basically, in this brave new economy, to succeed at the hands of corporate overlords, children are an expense that's tougher to afford. As in so many other ways, we've left the agrarian model behind- kids are an financial liability instead of an asset.

    I have no way of knowing how many childfree people forgo having children for economic reasons, but it would be interesting to find out.
    posted by Leta at 8:45 AM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


    Givin these facts, we might want to consider reformatting society to make the basic social unit the nuclear family, with a husband and wife who are committed to their marriage and children above every other consideration. Then we could make the husband the principle wage-earner (he's gonna earn more anyway) and give women the freedom and leisure to raise children or self-actualize outside the strictures of employment. I know it sounds like some kind of crazy utopia, but this arrangement would leverage the momentum of the trends referred to in the link for the benefit of both men and women, and would seem to be easier than rowing upstream as we appear to be doing now.
    posted by Faze at 8:52 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    From sotonohito's link:
    Maybe a more clear-cut way to shatter the glass ceiling would be for everyone to become open about their salaries. If managers were to assume that salaries aren’t kept private, they may strive to be more consistent.

    At the very least, people will know when to start looking for a new job.
    posted by pracowity at 8:54 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I should know better than to respond to Faze, but...

    Where do you live that the basic social unit isn't already the nuclear family?
    posted by hippybear at 8:55 AM on March 28, 2011


    I know it sounds like some kind of crazy utopia,

    It worked so well in 1950s America! Everyone loved it and it was totally the right thing for all people, which is why it's still that way now!
    posted by rtha at 9:01 AM on March 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


    I know it sounds like some kind of crazy utopia, but this arrangement would leverage the momentum of the trends referred to in the link for the benefit of both men and women, and would seem to be easier than rowing upstream as we appear to be doing now.
    Actually, it sounds like some kind of crazy dystopia, but that's probably just because I think people's roles in life should be determined by their talents and aptitudes, rather than by their gender, and also that it's sort of a problem if nobody in any position of social power has ever done the day-to-day work of raising kids or maintaining a household.
    posted by craichead at 9:07 AM on March 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


    Talents and interests, that is, rather than their gender. What about guys who want to be involved in raising their kids? What about women who hate housework and would make really awesome park rangers or dentists or bus drivers?
    posted by craichead at 9:09 AM on March 28, 2011


    Hey folks, either don't feed the trolls, or just acknowledge that it will be far easier to get EVERYONE IN THE WORLD to live according to Faze's expectations than it would be to get a comparatively few number of employers to treat their workers with dignity and respect - and equality, which naturally follows from proper application of the former two.
    posted by entropone at 9:14 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    "Most greedy capitalists would seem too much concerned with profits to purposefully pay equally capable and equally productive employees differently based on gender alone. "

    HA! I just read an article about a study where two equivalent resumes were given to executives, one where the potential employee had more education, the other where the potential employee had more experience. They were asked to say which one they'd hire and why.

    One resume was given a man's name and one was given a woman's. When the man's name was on the more education one, they'd hire the man and say that what was important for the position was more education. When the man's name was on the more experience one, they'd hire the man and say that what was important for the position was more experience.

    "Greedy capitalists" aren't any more rational than anyone else and frequently "pursue profits" in self-defeating or at least irrational ways. They suffer the same hidden biases as the rest of us and when they THINK they're valuing education or experience, in a clear and rational way, they're actually just valuing penises.
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2011 [33 favorites]


    My favorite mom-and-pop childrearing strategy is when she stays home just long enough to squeeze out another sprog or two and get back on her feet, but then she goes gung ho at the job and it's the man's turn to stay home and watch Junior and Missy. After the kids are in school, he will have an easier time getting back into the job market than she would have, and she'll miss relatively little time and get all kinds of corporate drone credit for taking such little time off to drop the little humans, so they both end up with decent careers and maybe a little more equal pay. (At least that's the way I figure it could go. Can't say I've actually tried that one.)
    posted by pracowity at 9:18 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Eyebrows McGee, got a link for that article? Would be useful.
    posted by daq at 9:20 AM on March 28, 2011


    What's particularly funny about Faze's comment, if you're familiar with his posting history, is how it utterly flies in the face of his usual "The individual is All! Social responsibility? Feh! Only if I can make a profit off it!" stance. What he proposes here is that the individual should sacrifice his or her own needs and desires for the Greater Good.

    So what I'm saying is, it looks like Faze has turned into some kind of commie socialist. And I'm laughing my ass off.
    posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Eyebrows McGee, got a link for that article? Would be useful.

    Yes please. Also, Leta, do you have a cite for " If you set parameters, though, you discover that young childless women in urban areas outearn their male counterparts.", I'd love to look at that.
    posted by cashman at 9:44 AM on March 28, 2011


    rtha That's fairly typical of Libertarians. They're all in favor of individualism and completely opposed to "collectivism" or any consideration for anything but the individual. At least right up until women enter the picture, then women are supposed to ignore all that individualism crap and sacrifice their lives for the betterment of the species/society/their husbands.
    posted by sotonohito at 9:46 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    @daq, cashman, I'm looking, but my google-fu is failing me ... there's too much SEO for the word "resume" and it's cluttering up my results. I'll look through some of my usual news sources and see if I can find it.
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:49 AM on March 28, 2011


    Cashman, there are a number of cited examples of young urban women out-earning young urban men in the wikipedia article hippybear previously linked to, which is surprisingly engrossing reading.
    posted by violinflu at 10:04 AM on March 28, 2011


    sotonohito That's fairly typical of Libertarians. They're all in favor of individualism and completely opposed to "collectivism" or any consideration for anything but the individual. At least right up until women enter the picture, then women are supposed to ignore all that individualism crap and sacrifice their lives for the betterment of the species/society/their husbands.

    No, that's not a libertarian thing. A conservative thing, for sure. Related: Glen Beck is probably the worst thing to happen to libertarianism in a long while.
    posted by colinshark at 10:07 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    If one adds to the data the fact that Oklahoma incarcerates more females than any other states, the situation of women in general and single mothers in specific is depressing in this state.

    It is almost impossible for anyone to find a decent paying job after spending time in prison, although, strangely enough, less so for women. One of the organizations I support works exclusively with sex offenders (not to be confused with sex predators, who are a very small percentage of the total numbers) and has been successful in placing former inmates in jobs. A lot of the jobs available are, by necessity, in small businesses owned and operated by the former inmates, and the recidivism is amazingly low.

    Think of all the sons and daughters of these inmates: another generation condemned to poverty. (I hope I worded this last sentence well enough to escape being berated for thinking of the children)
    posted by francesca too at 10:10 AM on March 28, 2011


    Women still earn less — about 77 cents for each male dollar.

    Is this for the exact same job?


    Not only is not for the exact same job, but you can assume that when you see this kind of statistic, there's been no control for any factors aside from gender.

    Yet it gets held up as women making "77 cents on the dollar" relative to men, as if the fair thing would be for women to get an extra 23 cents for each 77 cents they make. It's the most elementary statistical fallacy, yet Metafilter seems to have a quota of at least one post a month harping on this as if it were a grave injustice.

    Those who are actually concerned about injustice should want to find the most accurate empirical evidence so that they know what they're talking about. When people focus on the uncontrolled-for raw data, it's a giveaway that their concern isn't fighting gender discrimination. Their concern is signalling that they're good people. It's a matter of their self-image, which is up to them. But I hope these aren't the same people who are in charge of economic policy.

    None of this means there's no discrimination in pay of men and women. Women might not get paid as much as men for "equal work." For that matter, men might not be paid enough. If either of these is true, it is indeed a serious injustice. But I'm not going to claim to know what the truth is, because I've never seen a study that accurately controls for all relevant factors. Note: controlling for some factors is not good enough! However, it's notable that when studies do control for even some factors, the "gap" ends up being far smaller than 23%. The gap, of course, should not be even 1% if all non-gender factors are perfectly controlled for, but it's impossible to do such a perfect empirical study.

    In addition, young women generally make more money than young men in big cities. There are many occupations where women make more money than men on average. If it were true that women earn "77 cents on the dollar" relative to men, these facts would be hard to explain. I don't have time to find the links now, but they're in several of the old FPPs about the gender pay gap.

    If there were any other topic with so many FPPs propagating such a clearly fallacious point, they would be deleted.

    Thought-experiment: if greedy, self-interested companies knew they could get the same labor for much less cost by hiring women, what would you expect to happen? Is that what actually does happen?
    posted by John Cohen at 10:56 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


    Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine by Catherine Hakim argues that disparities in pay are down to individual choice - that men choose careers and women choose home. She claims that trying to intervene merely drives women into particular family-friendly professions - as in the Scandinavian countries, where women work in the public sector and men in the private.

    So in Sweden there might be only one female engineer, which means she's really really good, so the pay gap (male to female engineers) is really small. But almost every woman is a poorly-paid teacher in the public sector, not a well-paid engineer, so the actual disparities in income are huge but disguised by "occupational segregation". They have equal pay for equal work but whoops, men and women aren't doing the same work... The US comes out rather better in terms of there being both female and male engineers, businesspeople, teachers, nurses and so on.

    Anyway, interesting reading, I thought, though it doesn't seem to take into account the omnipresent, constant, but often unconscious sexism that I think pervades our society, and it spends quite a lot of the paper hinting at some kind of feminist conspiracy to ignore the truth, so I'd love to see some critiques...
    posted by alasdair at 10:56 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Cashman, there are a number of cited examples of young urban women out-earning young urban men in the wikipedia article

    The relevant part I see references Andrew Beveridge putting an article in the Gotham Gazette that describes it. Does anybody see the paper on the Gotham Gazette website? I can't seem to locate it.
    posted by cashman at 11:02 AM on March 28, 2011


    Not only is not for the exact same job, but you can assume that when you see this kind of statistic, there's been no control for any factors aside from gender.

    Really? No one ever controls for any other factors?
    posted by rtha at 11:03 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


    The wikipedia page hippybear linked to references an NYT article from August 2007 and talks about Beveridge in the Gotham Gazette. Only thing relevant (it doesn't have mentions of Dallas at all though) is this article by Beveridge in the Gotham Gazette from just a few months before the NYT article. Which says something different:
    Table 2 present some information for women working full time in various occupations. In most occupations, men out-earn women. But this is especially true in Manhattan for law, medicine and stock and bonds salesmen. In each of these areas men out-earn women by more than two to one. Even the very high levels of education for Manhattan women do not wipe out this disparity. But female secretaries, designers and authors in Manhattan do earn more than men in those fields.
    And kind of goes against what is attributed to him in the wikipedia article. Odd.
    posted by cashman at 11:14 AM on March 28, 2011


    the only point from Scott Adams' blog post and subsequent backpedal worth considering is the context issue. copy/pasting elsewhere - especially in a piecemeal manner - does distort the tone. however, even if i try to understand it after he explained what he really meant with the original post, what he insists doesn't correlate to what was written. sure, walking away from a heated argument to avoid further fighting is one way to deal with it, but there is such a gap between the intended product and the perceived result that he needs to account for in a more responsible, less dismissive way. i disagree wholeheartedly with this statement:

    "People don't change opinions just because new information comes in. They interpret the new information as confirmation of their existing opinion."

    this is giving up. when there is conflict because of something YOU made, it is up to you to not just back away and soothe things over but to truly understand why you ruffled everyone's feathers in the first place.
    posted by cristinacristinacristina at 11:23 AM on March 28, 2011


    Most greedy capitalists would seem too much concerned with profits to purposefully pay equally capable and equally productive employees differently based on gender alone.

    That's assuming the pay disparity is entirely purposeful. There have been some pretty important studies on perception showing that if an identical resume is submitted with a man's name, and with a woman's name, the man will be judged much more competent and will be perceived to have more expertise than the woman.

    There's no cabal scheming on how to oppress the womenfolk, but if you perceive men as being more competent than women, you'll pay them more.
    posted by arcticwoman at 11:32 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


    I don't think there's any mystery there, cristina**3. Scott was trolling. He happened to be unusually successful at it this weekend.
    posted by LogicalDash at 11:33 AM on March 28, 2011


    There have been some pretty important studies on perception showing that if an identical resume is submitted with a man's name, and with a woman's name, the man will be judged much more competent and will be perceived to have more expertise than the woman.

    I wonder if this is still true if the hiring manager is a woman? My guess is that you'd find people to be biased toward their own gender making it a slightly different problem. I don't have time to look for the study right now or I would answer my own question.
    posted by VTX at 11:44 AM on March 28, 2011


    I wonder if this is still true if the hiring manager is a woman? My guess is that you'd find people to be biased toward their own gender making it a slightly different problem. I don't have time to look for the study right now or I would answer my own question.
    It's still true when the hiring manager is a woman. At least, it was for the salary negotiation study. (Men and women were sent in with the same negotiating script to ask for a raise. Both male and female managers read the men as assertive and the women as pushy and unpleasant.)
    posted by Karmakaze at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I wonder if this is still true if the hiring manager is a woman?

    Related

    Babcock showed people videos of men and women asking for a raise, following the exact same script. People liked the man's style and said, 'Yes, pay him more.' But the woman? "People found that to be way too aggressive," Babcock says. "She was successful in getting the money, but people did not like her. They thought she was too demanding. And this can have real consequences for a woman's career." To be clear, both men and women thought this way.

    Men and women enforce gender stereotypes. It's frustrating as fuck, but understandable. So many guys don't want to fall into it, but fighting that shit for years is hard work. So many women don't want to fall into it either, but fighting that shit for years is hard work.

    On non-preview, Karmakaze mentions it also.
    posted by cashman at 11:54 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


    Is this something that can be corrected? I mean, aside from passing a law that a) requires that everyone's salary be publicly posted and b) require employers to pay everyone in a position the same, whether or not they are better at the position than their coworkers, etc, etc. A lot of times, I have to wonder if the numbers don't show any discrepancy due to misguided attempts at merit pay or cronyism more than gender bias. And since there are no set guidelines for companies to use in assigning pay (no central authority that determines what a job should pay, etc. labor statistics are after the fact records of what was paid for a position historically, but are not an indicator of what a job will pay in the future), I have to wonder if a lot of this is just the messy side of humans trying to do this thing called business and being bad at it. Most business models are based upon flawed premises like individual rational actors, when we know, from countless studies of the human psyche, that humans are anything but rational. We are horrible at being consistent unless we are constantly vigilant against our own natural tendencies to abstract everything into subjective views, rather than objectively looking at reality from a dispassionate and detached standpoint. Yes, we can do this (be objective, etc), but we are horrible at maintaining this as a group. If people were entirely rational (i.e. Vulcan), a lot of things that are injustices in this world would not exist for long. But we aren't. We need to learn to accept this and work to correct this. We also need to know how to explain WHY this has to be corrected, in a manner that does more than just touch upon emotionally charged subjects. But we won't. Because we let mobs of ignorance decide for us. Hence the failure of the "free market" and the failure of communism, and ultimately, what will become the failure of democracy. But I'm an idiot and only understand this from a cursory study of the world. Maybe there's a place where people aren't so blinded by their own stupidity and know how to achieve this kind of thing in a fair and equitable manner. But somehow I think we're stupid monkeys and we'd rather bash each others brains out with rocks.
    posted by daq at 12:23 PM on March 28, 2011


    I don't know if this story is what inspired the FPP, but it sure is relevant.
    posted by heatvision at 12:31 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I don't know if this story is what inspired the FPP, but it sure is relevant.

    Wow, thanks for posting that, heatvision. I had no idea this was occurring.
    A 60-year-old Walmart greeter will come up against the world's biggest retailer this week in another round of the largest sex discrimination case in history.

    In a case legal experts say will redefine discrimination law in the US, the supreme court will on Tuesday begin hearing arguments why Betty Dukes and more than a million women who worked for Walmart between December 1998 and the present day should be able to sue the retailer in a class action.
    posted by cashman at 12:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Not only is not for the exact same job, but you can assume that when you see this kind of statistic, there's been no control for any factors aside from gender.

    Really? No one ever controls for any other factors?


    Not just that, this giant Wikipedia article is full of citations to studies where researchers work to control factors related to pay disparities. And overwhelmingly, this research shows that although some of the gap can be accounted for when controlling for more factors, not all of it can, and that the most likely explanation of this discrepancy is gender bias against women. No, in research of this nature, not all factors can be controlled. But they can never be fully controlled, which is a fact often used as a very convenient way to deny research that don't fit with one's worldview.

    It's a matter of their self-image, which is up to them.

    It's ironic this is mentioned in this context, since I think this topic reveals many people's personal biases, from assuming that women would be biased towards other women (data show they aren't) to assuming this is solely a function of women being the primary caretaker (a factor, yes, but data show it doesn't account for all). Is it really that hard to believe that gender discrimination still exists in many workplaces? And that this discrimination could affect pay scales? I've had to deal with so much sexism in the workplace, it's honestly shocking to me that people could simply claim it doesn't exist.
    posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 1:39 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


    sotonohito That's fairly typical of Libertarians. They're all in favor of individualism and completely opposed to "collectivism" or any consideration for anything but the individual. At least right up until women enter the picture, then women are supposed to ignore all that individualism crap and sacrifice their lives for the betterment of the species/society/their husbands.

    Citation needed. Oh; this clears things up a bit:

    colinshark No, that's not a libertarian thing. A conservative thing, for sure. Related: Glen Beck is probably the worst thing to happen to libertarianism in a long while.

    THANK YOU. About sotonhito's comment-- is that a common misunderstanding? I'm starting to get some clarity on why the room goes quiet when I so much as mention my Libertarian leanings anywhere in Seattle.

    The conflation of libertarianism and conservatism is pretty fuckin' pesky. It reminds me of thinking that Jews drink Christian babies' blood, or that African Americans all like fried chicken.

    ...I'll go ahead and say that it's like a direct cross between those two things. If you have a vague notion that libs & cons are always alike, please do a 10-minute google on it, for the sake of the next libertarian who's playing pool with you.

    DIRECTOR'S CUT: ahhh.. so that's where I get my 'minority' status: in politics. Nice.
    posted by herbplarfegan at 1:42 PM on March 28, 2011


    ...oh, and that's "libs" as in "-ertarians," not "-erals" (which I'd prolly call "progs" in this context, for the sake of..er.. uh.. clarity.)
    posted by herbplarfegan at 1:53 PM on March 28, 2011


    No, in research of this nature, not all factors can be controlled. But they can never be fully controlled, which is a fact often used as a very convenient way to deny research that don't fit with one's worldview.

    ...or merely to refrain from making assumptions and continue to search for more clarity on the issue.

    It is possible for someone to acknowledge that they have irrational biases while hesitating to simply jump on what may turn out to be a bandwagon that's merely headed in the other direction.
    posted by herbplarfegan at 1:53 PM on March 28, 2011


    John Cohen: Thought-experiment: if greedy, self-interested companies knew they could get the same labor for much less cost by hiring women, what would you expect to happen? Is that what actually does happen?

    When I first read this, I was going to quote it and simply say "nth"-- but I chewed on it for a second, and I have a hard time picturing all of the corporate towers filling up with poorly-paid armies of women.

    I have to agree with the couple of folks who have mentioned that it isn't a rational mindset that is driving these decisions. Sure, it's obvious right away that the interests you're referring to are in conflict, but.. that's what prejudice of any type is by nature, anyway: irrational.
    posted by herbplarfegan at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2011


    One resume was given a man's name and one was given a woman's. When the man's name was on the more education one, they'd hire the man and say that what was important for the position was more education. When the man's name was on the more experience one, they'd hire the man and say that what was important for the position was more experience. This.
    I've tried it more than once. And if you both more educated and more experienced, they invent a new category you can fail in.
    Once there was a very good academic position within my field where I followed the hiring process with some anticipation. On one hand was my academic mentor, a highly intelligent and lovable man, who for several reasons was unable to produce anything sensible or teach students he didn't agree with. On the other a woman who was and is an accomplished academic as well as a successful business-woman and an inspiring teacher. Obviously, the man was chosen. I have no idea how they got away with it. I was emotionally split: I wanted the best for my mentor, but on the other hand, this was blatant discrimination. Over time, the decision has proved itself to be simply stupid. An other university hired the woman, and within less than a decade, all the funding and all the good students have moved there.
    Also, it hasn't been good for my mentor to be hired on false premises. To me, he seems like a broken man today, ridden by self-doubt.
    posted by mumimor at 2:21 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    herbplarfegan: to comment on the whole libertarian = conservative loon side-derail;
    I think it's the fact that a lot of self-proclaimed libertarians have been known to yell "google Ron Paul" a lot and end up repeating Glen Beckisms (even if they don't actually watch or listen to him). I'm sure you are a thoughtful and learned person with ideas that can be classified as libertarian. But sadly, you decided to stand too close to the woowoo's and are thus associated with them by people who decided to stand next to the other woowoo's.

    Woo-woo!
    posted by daq at 2:24 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    The conflation of libertarianism and conservatism is pretty fuckin' pesky. It reminds me of thinking that Jews drink Christian babies' blood, or that African Americans all like fried chicken.

    You're not really helping libertarians there.
    posted by kmz at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


    But how do women with no children compare to men with no children in the same job? I would be surprised to find a 25% difference in pay.

    Yeah! My experience is that it's more like an average of 15-20% increase in pay for men. Oh, but with a higher title and more authority but less actual responsibility.
    posted by desuetude at 10:01 PM on March 28, 2011


    Yeah, thought experiments, assumptions about how all employers behave, and guesses about what the statistics might be are all completely useless when discussing the topic of gender-based wage disparity. There is real data out there, solid research to use in working out your opinion. It's in the FPP and referenced by the wikipedia article linked above. Guessing isn't helpful. Either refute the data, or realise that your mental model of how employers decide on pay rates is inaccurate when it comes to this topic.
    posted by harriet vane at 10:48 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I'm late returning, but here you go.
    posted by Leta at 6:54 AM on March 29, 2011


    me: The conflation of libertarianism and conservatism is pretty fuckin' pesky. It reminds me of thinking that Jews drink Christian babies' blood, or that African Americans all like fried chicken.

    kmz You're not really helping libertarians there.

    Either you're taking me to seriously or I'm taking you too seriously. I really can't tell.
    posted by herbplarfegan at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2011


    herbplarfegan It seems to me that Libertarianism is a subset of Conservatism, yes. Libertarians obsess over the faintest possibility that the federal government might restrict rights, but gloss over the ways that state governments and corporations can also restrict rights. They completely ignore the dire threat of corporate power and talk about "collectivism" when it is suggested that perhaps, just perhaps, corporations might need to be restrained by regulation. The fact that corporations are, rather by definition, collectivism is completely ignored.

    And without exception every Libertarian I've ever spoken with has been a rabid anti-choice advocate. Their belief in individualism seems to extend only to men. But, since they're Libertarians after the woman has been forced to give birth any sort of aid or assistance to the child would be collectivism and therefore anathema.

    I got into a discussion online a while back, pointed out that women with children tend to poll as being less happy and fulfilled than women without children. The response from the Libertarian was that due to inherent gender differences and whatnot it was up to women to sacrifice their individual desires for the good of the species. He didn't put it in those words, he realized that saying that directly would be pretty blatant, but that was the core of the argument. the species must go on, women are the only people able to continue the species, therefore regardless of whether or not having children has a positive or negative impact on the happiness/fulfillment/etc of women they have an obligation to have children.

    Perhaps your variety of Libertarianism is different, I hope so. But the overwhelming majority of Libertarians I've encountered online are as I've described above.

    Basically my experience with Libertarians has been that they're Republicans who want to smoke weed.
    posted by sotonohito at 9:03 AM on March 31, 2011


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