Why Do Women Still Earn Less?
Did you know that in the United States, women earn only 75.5cents for every dollar that men earn? If you are passionate about women’s empowerment, you probably already knew this. Now, if the situation is that bad in the United States, the land of opportunity, you can imagine how much worse the situation is in other countries, particularly 3rd world countries.
I have always been fascinated by the issue of women’s economic empowerment more than anything else. I would give anything (well, almost anything) to see women all over the world having equal access to and control over resources. In my quest to find more information on how this can be achieved, I have come across many books which have attempted to explain the gender pay gap. However, none was as fascinating as the book titled “Why Men Earn More by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
The book’s author attempts to “explain” (I’m temped to use the word “justify”) why the gender pay gap exists. Apparently the top 5 reasons why women earn less are:
• Women often choose fields that don’t pay much e.g. Arts and Social Sciences as opposed to Technology and Hard Sciences. It appears that, women seem to think that they can they can “follow their bliss” and still earn a lot of money.
• Women want to obtain hazard pay without the hazards. This is one that I have a really hard time with. Apparently, at the time Dr. Farrell wrote his book, no woman had died in the Marines or Air Force in the war in Iraq?
• Women don’t want to do the time. The book states that men tend to work 13% more than women and therefore they should expect 44% more pay. I may not have been very good at Math, but I know 13% doesn’t equal 44%. In addition, Dr. Farrell states that men have more uninterrupted work experience. Women have a harder time sticking to one employer especially because of their traditional roles e.g. having and raising children.
• Women aren’t very willing to travel or relocate to “undesirable locations.” As far as this is concerned, Dr. Farrell points out that only 16% of “frequent flyers” are women.
• Women and men approach work very differently and that’s why, on average, female-owned businesses only make 47% of what male owned businesses earn. Women often prioritize autonomy, flexibility, fulfillment and safety over money. On the other hand, male business owners work 29% more than female business owners, have more employees and commute 47% farther because their main motivating factor is the money.
At some point, the book states that never-married women, aged between 40 and 64, who are college-educated and never had children earn $7,000 more per year when compared to their male counterparts who are in the same situation. Does this mean that our sex roles (not gender roles) or biological roles are leading us, women, to make decisions that will only cause us to earn less in the long run? If you choose to have children and you want your children to be well-balanced (whatever that means), should you forget about equal pay? I want to hear your views.