The myth: Women get paid less than men for the same work due to discrimination.
The term ‘gender pay gap’ is widely used as ‘proof that society benefits men at the expense of women’. When used it is usually not defined and gives the impression that women are paid less than men for the same job. As the definition below states – this is untrue.
Definition of Gender Pay Gap
According to the UK government, the Gender Pay Gap is the difference in the average earnings of male and female employees either in a particular organisation, or the average for the whole country.
In 2020 the gap in the UK is around 17%. However, note it is not a pay gap, it’s a Gender Earnings Gap.
What the GPG is NOT:
It’s official: “The gender pay gap does not show differences in pay for comparable jobs. Unequal pay for men and women has been illegal for 45 years.” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-gender-pay-gap
What the gender pay gap does not account for:
- overtime and/or unsocial hours
- continuity of employment
We can see a gender pay gap in an airline. This is because the highly-paid engineers and pilots are mostly male while the cabin and check-in staff are mostly female. These are choices, not discrimination.
Reasons for the gap
The GPG is NOT caused by unequal wages. As the government website correctly shows, “The causes of the gender pay gap are complex and overlapping:
- Fewer women choose the most highly-paid careers
- More women work part-time (where pay-rates are lower)
- Fewer women choose to compete for promotion
A higher proportion of women choose occupations that offer less financial reward (e.g. administration). Many high paying sectors are disproportionately made up of male workers (e.g. information and communications technology).
A much higher proportion of women work part-time, and part-time workers earn less than their full-time counterparts on average.
Women are still less likely to progress up the career ladder into high paying senior roles.”
What about these?
Sometimes the gender pay gap is given as the reason checkout staff at supermarkets (mostly female) are paid less than warehouse staff (mostly male). However, these are just different jobs: male checkout staff are paid less than female warehouse staff .
Sometimes examples are given where an individual female presenter is paid less than an individual male presenter. However, the it is difficult to maintain this line when we are comparing celebrities who negotiate individual salaries. Some female models, actresses, authors are paid more than men – because they have negotiated this. It’s not about discrimination.
Video by Prager University
Christina Hoff Sommers asks: “If, for the same work, women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, why don’t businesses hire only women? Wages are the biggest expense for most businesses. So, hiring only women would reduce costs by nearly a quarter – and that would go right to the bottom line. Don’t businesses want to be profitable? Or, are they just really bad at math?”
She then answers in detail with great graphics.
Video by The Economist
This video, by a mainstream magazine, explains the reasons for the gap. Although it, correctly, identifies ‘having children’ as a major reason for lower average wages for women, it still describes this as women being ‘held back’, rather than giving motherhood an equal status with a career and simply accepting the financial outcomes.
Video by Christina Hoff Sommers
In this video in the ‘Factual feminist’ series, challenges the assumption that the gap is the result of discrimination.
Satirical interview by Jonathan Pie
Jonathan comes out with all the usual stereotypes and myths and the author puts him right.
Short clip by Shoe0nHead
Clip from Shoe’s last video for those of you tired of repeating the same explanation over and over again to internet feminists who cling on to “muh wage gap” for dear life and wish it was caused by sexism.
It’s a ‘not making my career my first priority’ pay gap
While, on average, more women than men choose lifestyle over career, many men also have these priorities. If we were to look at ‘career-minded men’ v ‘lifestyle-minded men’ we would see a similar wage-gap.