Why Men Earn More?

Business Week just released an article on the gender wage gap… sort of. Comparing information of gender wage gaps by field to data on students graduating from college, BW concludes that much– but not all– of the gender pay gap can be attributed to career choices, such as choosing a finance job versus an HR job. The author writes:

“The pay gap then, isn’t entirely a function of discrimination against women, although I’m sure there’s probably some of that too. It’s largely a function of the choices men and women make. There may be perfectly good tactical reasons for those choices–the need to repay student loans or the desire to start a family, for example. But they have consequences, and one of them may be a bigger (or smaller) paycheck.”

The problem we have with this conclusion is that it fails to recognize that “male” versus “female” jobs IS discrimination against women. Women are more likely to go into HR than men, the article says. This is not a “choice,” but rather the force of a society that still believes women are better with communication than men. Men are more likely to go into finance because, again, society believes men are better at math.

Any time a certain career is predominately male or female we should ask ourselves why. Simply declaring it an effect of  “choice” is ignoring the societal problem at hand here.

What do you think about the gender wage gap? Is it just discrimination or are there other factors contributing to it?



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