Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wage Discrimination

    The latest figures I've seen show that a woman earns somewhere between 77 cents and 91 cents for every dollar that her male counterpart makes in a similar job. Why the wide range of estimates? Some studies adjust for educational level, job experience, and years in the workforce; others do not.

     This is a problem in itself, because we all (I assume) believe in equal pay for equal work.

     But, women, be careful what you ask for. In my demographic there are a lot of disparities. I know five or six couples, in their late 50s to early 60s, where the man held the primary job for 20 or 30 years. Then he got laid off, while the wife was either going back to school, or starting a new job, or stepping up her career after the kids went off to college.

     These men are now working freelance, or "consulting." or in one case working behind the checkout counter at our local supermarket. In this substrata of the American populace, the women are earning somewhere between $2 and $10 for every dollar that the man earns.

     Does this counter-trend make the overall numbers seem more equitable? I doubt it.

     Now I don't mean to make light of the above figures. There is definitely something wrong with our economy. But, truthfully, that's not what prompted this post. Instead, it's another economic disparity -- a figure I saw in The New Republic:  "The average American spends an estimated $144 celebrating Mother's Day, but only an average of $82 commemorating Father's Day."

     Of course, some might argue that mother and father are not comparable jobs. Regardless, all I have to say about it is this:  My kids owe me $82!*

     *Okay, to be fair, my daughter phoned me from Colorado -- long distance, no less -- but that doesn't even cost a dime anymore. And my son came to visit . . . do I count his mileage?


Joanne Noragon said...

At any event it's a proven fact Americans spend too much money on stuff.

A large part of the disparity lies in location. Women in Wisconsin or Mississippi get the 77 cents.

DJan said...

That's funny about the Mothers versus Fathers Day disparity. I think it's because of the guilt factor with moms, what do you think? :-) said...

As you suggest, these stats are very confusing. Like most stats, they can be emphasized or deemphasized to make a point. As someone once said, 'Figures don't lie, but liars figure.' There are many legitimate reasons women can make less than men, although as more women become educated and the old union jobs in industry which paid quite well die out, women will probably surpass men in earned income.


Tamara Reddy said...

When I see these figures, I always question whether one of the reasons for the lag is the time many women, including myself, take/took out to raise a family. When I returned to work after 10 years at home, I experienced no wage discrimination that I was aware of (and yes, a few trusted co-workers and I did carefully compare notes on salaries, increases and bonuses), but certainly I lagged behind others my age due to the difference in years in the workplace.

I also have read studies that suggest that often times wages are a reflection of one's willingness to ask, and that men are generally more willing to do ask for raises than are women. Intuitively this makes sense to me.

I live in California, a pretty progressive state. Perhaps that makes a difference as well.

Anonymous said...

Our only would never settle for little compensation a spitfire of a lady I might add, she has no desire to marry and have kids so it is just her, she went to a womens teaching university, she did not want to be a teacher because the pay was miserable even though we live in a state that does pay more for teachers than most...She said why work like you know what to go to university and then get asked to get paid far below men, she never has, of course her momma is from California and her dad from Brooklyn new York where she now resides and we taught her to stick up for herself..She always had great paying babysitting jobs or anyother jobs in high school because she made them into a business not something she just wanted to do, the people who employed her knew they had to pay her or she would not work for them...I think it absolutely shameful men now do not get jobs at all and at a certain age they lose jobs, if that is wage disparity well shove it..Most men want to work past 50 and to take their jobs from them is just a bunch of you know what..It makes a woman's wages look good, someone has to work in the marriage..I say pay women & men the same for the same da-- job. Keep people on their jobs until they want to retire, not before and pay health benefits thank you very much and time off for illnesses.etc.! this is America not Russia or the European union!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephen Hayes said...

Years ago I read that the phone companies quadrupled the number of operators working on Mother's Day, but they actually had fewer operators than normal on Father's Day. I juess we should have changed more diapers and kissed more boo boos.

Anonymous said...

Please enough of the "women making less" myth.

It is NOT true!

Mac n' Janet said...

Could it be because of taking maternity leave, being the one to stay home when a child is sick, being unable to travel for business because of children? I've found that when women put as much into a job as a man they generally make as much.

Warren Lieberman said...

You probably owe your wife $82, just ask her!

Douglas said...

As you know, I worked in the Bell System for 34 years... most of it in long distance switching. A little known fact came to me as I was reading this: The most direct dialed long distance calls are made on mother's Day; the most long distance collect calls are made on Father's Day.

Friko said...

kids spending money on Mother’s or Father’s Day? I wish someone had told mine that that is what you do.

Otherwise, I want full parity with men, so there!