I Know How to Fix the Wage Gap

Let me just say first that (a) I have a daughter and no sons and (b) my wife has made more $ than me for a long time now, as I have taken on the “flex work” role in our family, ever since our now-teenaged daughter was born. Obviously I don’t want my daughter to make 79% of what some dude makes for the same job. Let us see how we can fix this “staggering disparity”, shall we?

A Conundrum

This video unintentionally demonstrates the absurdity of the “77 cents” claim. Apparently we are to believe that business owners — capitalists, mind you, the kind that supposedly would sell their own grandma for a penny extra profit — are voluntarily paying 30% more for labor costs than they have to, just because they are so devoted to the patriarchy. (As always we get to be lectured about how awful we are by a rich celebrity.) But let’s leave this petty fighting over numbers aside for a moment and concentrate on fixing this problem.

Work Flexibility

First off, we know that women on average place a higher priority on negotiating flexibility and benefits than on salary — part-time work, flex time, tele work, more vacation time, weekends actually off in reality, etc. To no one’s surprise, “jobs that offer more-flexible hours … typically pay less than jobs with longer and more rigid hours.” Similarly, “A study by the Center for Policy Alternatives and Lifetime television found that 71 percent of women prefer jobs with more flexibility and benefits than jobs with higher wages, and nearly 85 percent of women offered flexible work arrangements by their employers have taken advantage of this opportunity.”

There is an easy fix here: we can simply ban all these practices. Forbid all of the above: no part-time work, no flex-time, same vacation and benefits for everyone. Nice even playing field. Done.

Irregular Hours and Overtime

Some people, especially when they are just starting their careers, are willing to put in extra long hours, be on call whenever needed, work all through the weekend, whatever it takes to get the job done and impress the boss. The St. Louis Fed has found that “overall, almost in all occupations in all years, a higher fraction of women work irregular hours due to personal reasons and a lower fraction work irregular hours due to employer reasons, relative to men” and that this discrepancy has been increasing over time (since the 90s, at least). We can fix this inequality the same way — just ban it all. Everyone has to work the same hours. If necessary, we can just rotate all employees through a regular overtime/weekend requirement, so each person has to put in the same time. All equal. Equality! Everyone, at long last, finally gets to be the same.

Pay for Performance? Or a fixed pay scale?

Now we’re getting somewhere, right? Of course, even if we do all that, some pesky people will still perform better, producing more, working exactly the same hours as everyone else. This isn’t fair even if there is no gender discrepancy among the higher performers. So, let us create a fixed pay matrix at every company for every job, based simply on seniority. No other variance is allowed. Done! (Strangely, this sounds like some work environments we already have. Been to a Post Office lately? How much do you want to bet the federal workers that watch porn all day get paid basically the same as the ones that actually do all the work?)

Career Choices

Yet, humans, in all their rich complexity and infinite … yes … diversity (by which, sadly it is necessary to note, we mean actual diversity of person, character, values, skills, etc., not skin color and gender and sexual orientation and all the other superficial nonsense society is fixated on), will find still more ways to differentiate themselves from each other. Men and women seem to gravitate towards different college majors and careers. Majors linked generally to lower paying careers, such as social work, counseling and psychology, early childhood education, and “community organization” (that’s a major?) are disproportionally selected by female college students. We can fix this as well: as a condition of receiving federal student aid, the government will select your program of study for you. (It should probably be a random selection to avoid the inevitable biases that would occur if majors were chosen based on each student’s aptitudes, characters, interests, and even desires.)

The “Death Gap”

On a related note, for whatever crazy reason, men seem to pick all the most dangerous careers: From 2011 through 2015, men accounted for 92.5% of all workplace deaths. I would call that a “staggering disparity”, no? Feminists seem strangely uninterested in this bit of gender inequality. How should we tackle this one? Force all these positions to be 50% female? Work on converting them all to automation? Of course, we should also forbid the practice of paying a higher salary for more dangerous work.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Snark aside, it is also worth pointing out the games people play in order to make the statistics say what they want them to say. For instance, among “physicians and surgeons,” for example, women are said to make only 64.2 percent of what men make, but much of this difference is explained by career choices like this: “Only 16 percent of surgeons, but a full 50 percent of pediatricians, are women.” In the same way, articles will make a claim of a pay gap between male and female “full-time pharmacists” without noting that (admittedly this study is from 2001) that “male pharmacists worked 44.1 hours a week, on average, while females worked 37.2 hours.”

If you are at all interested in the actual facts (haha, the alternative facts!) of the wage gap, the above-linked article at City Journal is a great place to start. Or for a quick overview, start with this video by Prager U.

The Problem of Motherhood

Of course, there is one major difference between men and women which can’t be regulated away and which is undoubtedly a major motivating factor in the different choices men and women make and, therefore, the resultant difference in average pay. Yes, even though this may get your non-gender-specific underwear tangled up in a ball, only women can become pregnant. (Sorry, British Medical Association.) No matter how strongly feminists try to convince them that they should reclaim their bodies from the patriarchy and avoid this barbaric practice, women stubbornly persist in becoming mothers (though not enough to avoid the demography-driven budget meltdown coming down the pike). And once they become mothers, they keep ignoring those same feminists who tell them there is no difference at all between men and women and that they should simply split all parental responsibilities precisely 50–50. No doubt many of them have complaints about the amount of help they get from their male partners; society has not yet reached perfection. But that is not the same as thinking that either can simply replace the other in every role. For some reason, I was never able to successfully produce breast milk.

Obviously, once we’ve taken all of women’s work and career choices away in the name of “equality”, being a mother will become quite problematic. I think you can guess the solution to this one by now. And perhaps that is the most fitting final solution to all of this society’s ills.

But seriously…

Setting aside the sarcasm for a moment, it is certainly possible/likely that my daughter will experience sexism and/or discrimination at some point in life. I’m not terribly worried about this — she’s a strong, smart, determined person who will likely overcome whatever obstacles end up in her path, and (unless she’s infected by contemporary feminism in college) will almost certainly not become a whiney perpetual victim trying to compete for the title of Most Egregiously Offended. What I am worried about is that do-gooders with the best of intentions will make it harder rather than easier for her to work out her own life choices herself — whether she wants to be a 70 hour a week career woman living with a cat, a stay at home mom, or any of the infinite choices somewhere in between, it should be her choice. Not my choice, not feminists’ choice, not the government’s choice. Hers.

See more cynical curmudgeonly observations at juststopdigging.com, where we strongly advocate for a life devoted to inactivism.