Legislation passed by the Federal Government of the United States in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women different wage rates for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions.
A similar act to these was passed in France in 1972.
These reflected Article 119 of the original EEC Treaty, which started: "Each Member State shall in the course of the first stage ensure and subsequently maintain the application of the principle of equal remuneration for equal work as between men and women workers."
This is the point of view espoused in "The Wage Gap Myth" and in a recent installment of John Stossel's "Give Me a Break" and described in more detail in the follow-up reference "'Gender Pay Gap' is pap".
The 'choice' theory is explored from a practical point of view in Warren Farrell's book "Why Men Earn More" (The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap - and What Women Can Do About It). Farrell has advocated the idea that "the power of money is not in its earning but in its spending", and has thus emphasized the fact that American women account for 80+% of consumer discretionary spending, which points to the existence of a massive transfer of wealth from men to women that is entirely overlooked by all studies based only on the analysis of wages.
Proponents of the 'choice' theory argue that if employers were allowed to pay women with the same experience and education as men much less than men, then employers would disproportionately hire women to increase profits.
An April 15, 2005 article titled "Gender Wage Gap Is Feminist Fiction" from the libertarian Independent Women's Forum states, "A study of the gender wage gap conducted by economist June O' Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, found that women earn 98% of what men do when controlled for experience, education, and number of years on the job.
In a free market capitalist economy this wage gap would quickly be exploited. Corporations could hire only females and return the reduced labor costs to share holders.
Hedges and Nowell (1995) mentioned that male advantage in edges and Nowell (1995) performed a meta-analysis of national ability surveys that cover a 32-year period. Their primary conclusion is that male scores show greater variance in most abilities. The use of representative samples gives them reassurance that these differences in variance are true, and not the result of differential selection by sex. Their second finding is that average differences in most abilities are small. Exceptions include moderate to strong average advantages for men in math and science and typically male vocations, and moderate to strong average disadvantages to men in reading. They suggest the male advantage in measures of typical male vocations is not predictive, but that the other strong differences are. Thus, they are concerned about the relative disadvantage of men in writing and the disadvantage to women in science and math. However, test scores in both Europe and Asia have shown that in many countries, girls actually outscore boys in math and science, which leaves the differences and similarities between the sexes controversial
A closer view of these statistics tends to show that both points of view have missed the mark in serious ways. Indeed, both aggregate statistics and the various methods of breaking down the work world by segments and doing side-by-side comparisons miss the most significant feature of the inequity -- the time of birth: the generation or cohort of the population.
Once this is taken into account, the pattern of inequity in the United States becomes largely predictable. Therefore, it should be considered as the primary factor, with others that may be present derived from it. Indeed, much of what is otherwise attributed to this issue may rightfully be considered to already be subsumed by this single attribute. The society one is born and raised in, in large measure, conditions the values one is instilled with and, subsequently, the propensity toward choosing one or another type of career. Likewise, it conditions the attitudes of potential coworkers, underlings and bosses ... as well as those who would have the power to hire, promote or fire an individual.
In this way, both points of view are incorporated as corollaries.
Three interesting features stand out, when the demographics are broken down by time of birth:
The momentum does not show significant signs of abating, and it is very close to linear. If extrapolated, based on the figures for these generations drawn from the 1970, 1975, 1980, ..., 2000 compilations, it shows an indication of reaching and exceeding 100 cents on the dollar by around 2010.
The best linear fit done based on the P-60 figures for 1980-2000 (and 2001 and 2002) for those born on or after 1945 included 38 data points and a 90% goodness of fit. The P-60 figures used broke down the 15-25 group into 15-20, 20-25 in 1985, but aggregated them for the other dates. The remaining age groups were segmented into 5 year ranges (25-30, 30-35, etc.). The linear fit has the characteristics
A quadratic fit shows a slight tendency toward levelling off.
Another lesser trend (which may be a product of the small sampling size of the P-60 data for the age group in question and large statistical fluctuations resulting from it) is that there is a noticeable upturn in relative wage equity for the oldest workers, whose 20th birthdays preceded the 1950s. This is not just with respect to generation, as already noted above, but also over time. The 2000 P-60 figures for those who reached 20 before 1950 indicate a relative wage level of about 80 cents on the dollar (but 77 in 2001, 70 in 2002, 65 in 1995).
Based on the P-60 data, the following "dividers" may be noted, based on the current age and the period in question:
For 70 cents on the dollar:
This list excludes those born before 1925, whose members tend to be above the 70 cents on the dollar divider, but where the above-noted fluctuations occur.
For 80 cents on the dollar:
For 90 cents on the dollar:
The disparity seen in the aggregate 75 cents on the dollar (or whatever figure is quoted) is thus seen to arise because the baby boomers and their parents are pulling down the average. However, as they are now reaching retirement age, this masking effect will be removed, and the abrupt transition seen from generation to generation will come to be reflected in a similar abrupt transition in the overall average.
This is the most important aspect of the overall picture missed by the two prevailing points of view. While the discussion continues on why the inequity "still exist", the most recent changes in the world are blindsiding all involved.
A dramatic picture of this change -- particularly how it is being masked under the weight of the baby boomer generation and older world -- is seen in the TV news sector. An aggregate comparison of women's and men's salaries for TV news anchors shows that women are making 38% less than men overall (as of 2000), yet women are outearning men at each age range.
This is an example of Simpson's paradox. The complete disconnect between aggregate and age-related figures is actually somewhat predictable as a consequence of the gender shift that has taken place in this field. The vast majority of graduates from Communications schools in the United States are now female. Yet, there is still a significant vestige from the older, male-dominated, era -- particularly at the highest positions in the field. The net result is not only a gap in the average ages (29 for females, 38 for males) but, with the influx of women from the colleges, a widening in the age gap, and very likely the aggregate wage gap, itself!
This widening is, therefore, actually a precursor of a forthcoming reversal in the direction of movement, rather than a sign of a worsening situation.
The time inevitably comes when the older generations must leave the field -- whether by the attrition of retirement or death. In the national TV news arena, this has already started to happen. With the departure of the older cohort, the masking effect of the pulling down of the average by the baby boomers' and earlier generations will be removed, resulting in what will appear to be a sudden upswing in the aggregate wage gap and even a reversal.
On average, females are paid five thousand dollars a year less than males. Sources for this and further data may be found in the following:
References earlier data on-line may be found in the following:
and for recent years
|* 1994 Male||* 1995 Male||* 1996 Male||* 1997 Male||* 1998 Male||* 1999 Male||* 2000 Male||* 2001 Male||* 2002 Male|
|* 1994 Female||* 1995 Female||* 1996 Female||* 1997 Female||* 1998 Female||* 1999 Female||* 2000 Female||* 2001 Female||* 2002 Female|
In the following tables, the starting years of the age ranges are listed. Most listings are for 5 year intervals, though some were aggregated over 10 year intervals. For the older age groups, the aggregation goes the starting age on up. Some figures may need to be more closely investigated, such as the 1970 quote of 72 cents on the dollar for 25-35 year olds. The median earnings are in US dollars, no adjustment made for inflation.
Pay equality, or equal pay for equal work, refers to the requirement that men and women be paid the same if performing the same job in the same organization. For example, a female electrician must be paid the same as a male electrician in the same organization. Reasonable differences are permitted if due to seniority or merit.
Pay equality is required by law in each of Canada’s 14 legislative jurisdictions (ten provinces, three territories, and the federal government). Note that federal legislation applies only to those employers in certain federally-regulated industries such as banks, broadcasters, and airlines, to name a few. For most employers, the relevant legislation is that of the respective province or territory.
For federally-regulated employers, pay equality is guaranteed under the Canadian Human Rights Act. In Ontario, pay equality is required under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. Every Canadian jurisdiction has similar legislation, although the name of the law will vary.
In contrast, pay equity, in the Canadian context, means that male-dominated occupations and female-dominated occupations of comparable value must be paid the same if within the same employer. The Canadian term pay equity is referred to as “comparable worth” in the US. For example, if an organization’s nurses and electricians are deemed to have jobs of equal importance, they must be paid the same. One way of distinguishing the concepts is to note that pay equality addresses the rights of women employees as individuals, whereas pay equity addresses the rights of female-dominated occupations as groups.
Certain Canadian jurisdictions have pay equity legislation while others do not, hence the necessity of distinguishing between pay equity and pay equality in Canadian usage. For example, in Ontario, pay equality is guaranteed through the Ontario Employment Standards Act while pay equity is guaranteed through the Ontario Pay Equity Act. On the other hand, the three westernmost provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan) have pay equality legislation but no pay equity legislation. Some provinces (for example, Manitoba) have legislation that requires pay equity for public sector employers but not for private sector employers; meanwhile, pay equality legislation applies to everyone.