Thursday, March 27, 2014

Equal Pay For Equal Work

One of the issues sure to surface in the 2014 elections is the so-called gender pay gap. Google those three little words and you'll get "About 32,600,000 results." Here's an excerpt from one.
When it comes the gender pay gap there is (a) one famous statistic that everybody knows; (b) a couple famous rebuttals to that statistic; and (c) one big unanswered question about equal pay for men and women.

The statistic is that a woman earns $0.77 for every $1 earned by a man. The 77-cent talking point is everywhere, and too often the conversation ends with the double-sevens.

The rebuttals matter. The 77-cent stat doesn't account for the fact that women choose different jobs than men (often in lower-paid occupations and industries). It doesn't account for the fact that many women choose ... to leave the workforce for extended periods of time, which means they have less work experience by the time they turn 40 or 50.

But even when you equalize for all these variables, a pay gap of about 9 percent persists between men and women, and it's particularly cavernous at the top end of the income scale. Why?
The article goes on to point out that the gap is significantly influenced by time: "time since entering the workforce and time spent working." Since many women - rightly or wrongly - are primary caregivers for their families, they spend correspondingly less time on the job. That translates into lower pay.

Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that the gap is narrowing.
On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity – For Now

A new cohort of young women—members of the so-called Millennial generation—has been entering the workforce for the past decade. At the starting line of their careers, they are better educated than their mothers and grandmothers had been...

...In 2012, among workers ages 25 to 34, women’s hourly earnings were 93% those of men...

...In 2012, the median hourly wage for women, full-time and part-time workers combined, was 84% as much as men ($14.90 vs. $17.79).5 In 1980, the gap had been much wider: the median hourly wage for women was 64% as much as men ($11.94 vs. $18.57 per hour, in 2012 dollars)...
Clearly, Millennial women are well-situated for career success and advancement. However, analysis going back to 1980 suggests that the gender gap in earnings may increase for them as it has for earlier cohorts of young women. Looking at the most recent cohorts of young women, by the time they reached their mid-30s, their earnings relative to those of men began to fall further behind, even if they had started out ahead of the previous cohort of young women.
Motherhood is one factor, as it can lead to interruptions in career paths for women and increased time spent on unpaid work at home. Most Millennial women aren’t there yet, but when they do have young children at home, their level of participation in the labor force is likely to decline.
As will their pay in relation to their male counterparts with uninterrupted career paths.

There is, however, one industry in which the gender gap is reversed. In this field, women make around 3 1/2 times as much as men.
...females earning upward of $350,000 annually and top male stars pulling in around $100,000.
Before all you ladies stampede to the hiring office, be forewarned that we're talking about the porn industry.

Despite what you may think, life as a porn star isn't all fun and games.
One of the biggest problems for female porn stars is that their careers, which typically begin in their early 20s, tend to be short—the typical career arc stretches from six to 18 months. Thus, most adult actors find themselves "retired" before age 25 and many are forced to pursue new avenues.

...some go back to school to earn a degree; some invest in hot artisan industries, including winemaking; still others turn to more adventurous careers, like bounty hunting, which is where you'll find retired porn star and professional wrestler Sandra Scott...
Others follow the same boring, but tried-and-true financial advice that enabled me to retire a few years early: "You save, you invest, and you diversify..."

Like I used to tell my students (and still tell my kids), any day you don't learn something is a wasted day. As a result of reading this blog, you now have (hopefully) learned several things you didn't know before.

You're welcome.

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