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88 cents for the same job
March 8, 2012 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Just in time for International Womens Day, it's Narrow the Gap, a look at the unbalanced payrolls of American workers based on US Department of Labor statistics from a variety of industries.
posted by mathowie (42 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Next time you criticize insufficiently liberal Democrats as being as bad as Republicans, please remember that only one presidential candidate in 2008 supported (and signed) the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. 36 Senators (all R) and 177 Representatives (all but 5 R) voted against being able to sue your employer for wage discrimination.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:48 PM on March 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wonder how this is tabulated. I've heard before that women select into fulltime with benefits employee jobs, and that some portion of the "motherhood gap" is explained by health insurance preferences. Certainly, if you line up the wage gaps, the widest gaps seem to be in the fields with most opportunity to put up your own shingle, and the greatest market punishment for maternity.
posted by pwnguin at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a few clicks through, it appears the percentage gap gets wider the higher-paying the profession. I didn't anticipate that.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2012




It far past the time that this gap is narrowed.

Closed like a blast door...

...and welded the fuck shut.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 1:57 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's" even...

Damn useless, human fingers.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 1:57 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Women bartenders make 76 cents to the dollar men earn doing the same job.

Am I a terrible person for disbelieving this particular statistic? Either this just looks at wages (which would be a poor way to compare service-industry jobs) or the lion share of a bartender's income (tips) are significantly lower for females. Or perhaps the fanciest bars just hire dudes? Just seems weird is all.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:59 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are, it seems to me, a couple of ways to fix this: 1) Force women to stop having babies, or to choose, at age 15, between motherhood and workforce; 2) Force men to take off time when they have children, thus creating similar gaps that show up in these statistics -- but this will take time to propagate; 3) Stop comparing the salaries of women who take maternity leave to the salaries of women who don't.

We do not know how accurate this data is because it's so damn skewed by maternity leave! It drives me crazy. There might be actual salary gaps, actual unfairness, but they're buried by babies.

The problem is that '76 cents on the dollar' is a very, very sexy story that allows people to feel slighted and aggrieved and demand generic 'change'. Of course, change when you don't know exactly what's causing the difference you see is extremely ill advised.

Bad data. Bad bad bad.
posted by gsh at 2:01 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or perhaps the fanciest bars just hire dudes?

Not so implausible. The fancier the restaurant, the more likely it is the waitstaff is male.
posted by kenko at 2:09 PM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Stop comparing the salaries of women who take maternity leave to the salaries of women who don't.

Actually the best solution overall is: mandate that women take maternity leave, and that men take paternity leave.
posted by kenko at 2:10 PM on March 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Paid in full... if we really are concerned about the health of families and children.

I have no problem with this.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:12 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a middle manager in biotech, 1/3 of my my employees made more money than I did. I have never taken maternity leave.
posted by kamikazegopher at 2:13 PM on March 8, 2012


The problem is that '76 cents on the dollar' is a very, very sexy story that allows people to feel slighted and aggrieved and demand generic 'change'
No. The problem is that barstaff in the US do not get paid a decent salary and it has to be augmented by tips, in itself an insidious system.
Barstaff and waitstaff should have an equal, decent living wage irrespective of gender.
posted by adamvasco at 2:51 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just a few clicks through, it appears the percentage gap gets wider the higher-paying the profession. I didn't anticipate that.

That actually doesn't surprise me. I think the higher you go up the corporate ladder or whatever, the wider the acceptable wage bracket for the position-- fry cook is always going to make somewhere within a dollar of minimum wage, but Vice President of Regional Sales could make anywhere from 56k-78k, say. So the systemic discrimination and unconscious sexism and outright sexism and all the other factors that create the wage gap have a wider field to express themselves in.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here is a nice precis of a study of earnings for transgender people before and after transition. It nicely shows that the problem here is sexism, not overactive uteri.
posted by OmieWise at 3:18 PM on March 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's hard for me to get worked up about this (hypothetical) issue when men account for over 90% of workplace fatalities.
posted by TSOL at 3:23 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


what
posted by OmieWise at 3:25 PM on March 8, 2012


what

seconded
posted by triggerfinger at 3:36 PM on March 8, 2012


Actually, TSOL, According to the US Dept of Labor, men account for 92% of workplace fatalities.
http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm#2010

What you've done is attempt to derail the argument by citing a statistic of one governmental bureau that you consider accurate while claiming multiple statistics of another governmental bureau are inaccurate.
posted by cinnachick at 3:48 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know exactly how you feel, TSOL. Fun historical fact: those bleeding-heart liberals argued that women should be allowed in the military when they REALLY should have been investigating why men we're accounting for over 99% of combat fatalities! Where were their PRIORITIES?!
posted by Riki tiki at 3:49 PM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's nice for once to have a problem that mainly plagues high earners.
posted by michaelh at 3:53 PM on March 8, 2012


What The Pill Means For Women - "young women who won access to the pill in the 1960s ended up earning an 8 percent premium on their hourly wages by age 50. Such trends have helped narrow the earnings gap between men and women. Indeed, the paper suggests that the pill accounted for 30 percent – 30 percent! – of the convergence of men's and women's earnings from 1990 to 2000."
posted by kliuless at 4:19 PM on March 8, 2012


I didn't look at every occupation there, but I looked at a lot of them. I was trying to find one, just one, where women on average earn more than men. Silly me. Anybody know of one?
posted by Corvid at 5:03 PM on March 8, 2012


It's hard for me to get worked up about this (hypothetical) issue when men account for over 90% of workplace fatalities.
posted by TSOL at 3:23 PM on March 8


It may be hypothetical to you, but it's certainly not hypothetical to me.

Having personally worked at a job where every man got paid more than every (for the most part single, childless -- so the maternity leave issue is not applicable) woman performing the exact same job with the exact same job title, I an tell you it's a shock when you discover the reality of what's going on in this supposedly modern and equal world.

What makes it worse is that the women got paid less (not to mention promoted to higher positions significantly less frequently) even though they were working in business units that were making more money than those of their male counterparts.

Hypothetical my ass.
posted by sardonyx at 5:27 PM on March 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


We have over seven billion people on this resouce-depleted planet of ours. Anything that might encourage people to breed even more, like giving fathers paid time off, doesn't seem like a good solution.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 5:31 PM on March 8, 2012


Someone get a copy of that Krogan plague and adapt it to humans, I say.
posted by WalterMitty at 5:44 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a few clicks through, it appears the percentage gap gets wider the higher-paying the profession. I didn't anticipate that.

It looked like this to me, too, until I clicked through to the computer programming one—that's probably one of the highest-paid professions, on average, and women in that field earn 95% of what the men do, which is (sadly) pretty good. Though maybe that's because there are just fewer women in that field period, or because of hiring practices specific to that field.

There are also a handful of less skilled, more physical jobs on the low end of the pay scale where the compensation gap seemed to be lower as well, like cashiering and packing. Though maybe that could be explained by shakespeherian's conjecture above about there being less room for salary differences overall at the low end of the pay scale.
posted by limeonaire at 5:44 PM on March 8, 2012


We have over seven billion people on this resouce-depleted planet of ours. Anything that might encourage people to breed even more, like giving fathers paid time off, doesn't seem like a good solution.

Yeah, so women can just go to hell.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:46 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's quite a leap, Shakespearian. Maybe we could find another way that doesn't damage our environment? I'm just arguing that increased paternity leave may not be an ideal solution.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 5:51 PM on March 8, 2012


Thoughtcrime, I am no fan of our ballooned population. We cannot stop that now... for the ship has long since left the harbour...

Our species is heading for extinction.

I, too, am okay with this.

I no longer have the wherewithal to carry such devistating anger.

But by GOD we can be decent to one another. We can choose to be graceful as we head into that long night...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:55 PM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have over seven billion people on this resouce-depleted planet of ours. Anything that might encourage people to breed even more, like giving fathers paid time off, doesn't seem like a good solution.

That's some of the weirdest shit I've ever heard.
posted by OmieWise at 6:10 PM on March 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's a substantive response. Look, it's a travesty that many women are paid less than men for the same work. But why is increasing paternity leave a good solution to the problem?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 6:28 PM on March 8, 2012


woman performing the exact same job with the exact same job title

What about seniority or level of experience? Are there any studies that indicate whether or not women are more prone to switching careers than men?
posted by ShutterBun at 7:21 PM on March 8, 2012


That's some of the weirdest shit I've ever heard.

Oh, the links I could send you.

Are there any studies that indicate whether or not women are more prone to switching careers than men?

Not really (that I know of), but women are, for some inexplicable reason, more likely to take time off of work and have gaps in their careers than men are.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:55 PM on March 8, 2012


Daniel Craig and Judi Dench help deliver this message on International Women's Day.

'for some inexplicable reason' is not really inexplicable. Maternity leave and full time parental duties are primarily taken up by women.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:21 PM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


honey-barbara, thank you for reminding me that vocal tone and sarcasm do not translate through text.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:43 PM on March 8, 2012


Oops.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:06 AM on March 9, 2012


If I'd paid attention to the user name, I'd have picked up the sarcasm, as it's NOT something I expect the man of twists n turns to write in earnest. Duh.
posted by honey-barbara at 1:29 AM on March 9, 2012


Those of you so convinced that you will find the external, non-discriminatory factor that will explain away the gender gap might be interested in some of the vast body of research that has been done on the study. One of my favorites (ha!) is Steinpreis and Anders study where they varied the gender of a CV and sent it to a number of prominent psychology faculty.

Both men and women were more likely to vote to hire a male job applicant than a female job applicant with an identical record. Similarly, both sexes reported that the male job applicant had done adequate teaching, research, and service experience compared to the female job applicant with an identical record.

No excuse that you can come up with will explain why the definition of 'adequate' changes with gender.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:43 AM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I didn't look at every occupation there, but I looked at a lot of them. I was trying to find one, just one, where women on average earn more than men. Silly me. Anybody know of one?

Besides the obvious, you mean?
It doesn't do anything to alter the sexist picture
posted by Chuckles at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2012


Those of you so convinced that you will find the external, non-discriminatory factor that will explain away the gender gap might be interested in some of the vast body of research that has been done on the study.

Since I'm the first to mention confounding factors, I gather you count me among the "convinced." I'm not, but the pay gap seems so large many fields that I have to wonder if there isn't a multitude of factors here besides sexist attitudes and negotiation strategies. Things like preferring part time work or piggy backing on a spouse's health plan.

Let me be clear: I don't think sexism can be explained away with statistics and gender-varied preferences. I just think there are many causes of pay gaps, and this website seems to conflate them all with bad behavior from employers. And some of it surely is, but some of it is due to the differences in society's expectations of men and women at home and the workplace. Knowing how to best improve gender equality is difficult without a good measurement of its causes.

Frankly, we can only wish my field (CS) was as far along as Psych professors. We can't even get a balanced applicant pool, and the graduating classes are incredibly unbalanced. Even the entering freshman classes are nowhere near gender balanced. The only way we're able to land women coders is by spousal hires, which I can't say makes me warm and fuzzy inside with egalitarian feelings.
posted by pwnguin at 1:15 PM on March 9, 2012


The point the article makes, though, is that it is not "bad behavior by employers.". I have no doubt that none of the professors in the study consider themselves to be sexist, particularly the female ones. They may even consciously advocate for women in their field. Meanwhile, subconsciously, they are less likely to hire women and more likely to judge women to be less than a man for the exact same accomplishments, so that if a woman were actually hired they would feel completely justified in offering her a lower starting salary for the exact same accomplishments. This is part of "society's expectations of men and women at home and in the workplace," that women must have more accomplishments than a man to be considered his equal.

In most fields, every raise you get is a percentage of your previous salary. Thus, women starting at lower salaries will never, ever make that up. In fact, it will propogate and lead to a much higher wage gap at higher levels--exactly what the site in the FPP shows.

So, sure, you are welcome to hypothesize endlessly about other explanations, but you are not welcome to ignore the perniciousness of the effects of implicit bias on the wage gap.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:10 AM on March 10, 2012


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