When Equal Pay Day arrived on April 24, I decided to ignore it and let feminists complain about the nonexistent “pay gap” without comment from me. But, after two weeks of media laments and promises by Democratic presidential nominees to promote “paycheck equity,” I came to a startling realization: people actually took this day seriously.
The premise behind Equal Pay Day is that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar that men make and that the reason for the disparity is sex discrimination. This theory is both extremely pervasive and demonstrably false. Evidence of a “pay gap” is only produced by faulty research methods that ignore the fact that men and women make different choices about education, work, and family.
First, the belief that employers get away with paying women 77 percent of what men make can only be explained by a lack of understanding of basic economic principles. If it were true, money-grubbing employers would hire only women, since it would lower costs and increase profits. We know that doesn’t happen, so feminists have invented a preposterous explanation: male businessmen care so much about keeping women “in their place” that they’re willing to lose money by hiring men. Is it just me, or do people like Donald Trump seem slightly more concerned with getting rich than maintaining patriarchy? Already, the pay gap theory has serious flaws.
Second, the 77 cents to the dollar figure is calculated by comparing the average salaries of all men to all women. It does not account for occupation, education, the number of hours worked, or the different roles that jobs play in men’s and women’s lives. The average woman earns less because she’s made different choices in life – a fact that feminists, despite all their caterwauling about the importance of “choice,” refuse to accept.
What women’s studies majors who lament about the pay gap don’t realize is that they’re contributing to it. According to economist June O’Neill, a major reason women make less than men is that they often choose college majors in lower-paying “humanities” fields, such as education, journalism, English and social work, while men are more attracted to high-paying fields like business and engineering. If women’s studies majors are so outraged by the pay gap, maybe they should all drop out and enroll in the College of Engineering. That act alone would do much more to close the pay gap than blaming sexism.