This morning, the White House sent an email out to its millions-strong list asking, “Do you support equal pay for women?” Why would the White House ask such a question? Because the Obama administration, in its latest attempt to woo the women’s vote and posit the existence of a conservative “war on women,” is pressing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would once again restrict business in the name of the supposed pay gap between the sexes. Here’s the email:
It's been nearly 50 years since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, but today a woman who works full time still earns just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
That's not just unfair. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families. That's bad for kids, it's bad for communities, and it's bad for the entire country.
So President Obama is supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is designed to update the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help close the pay gap. Congress is scheduled to vote on the legislation this week.
To help raise awareness of pay discrimination and make it clear that it is a problem with serious consequences, we've put together a series of e-cards to highlight the issue.
Pick your favorite, then email it to your friends or share it online …
Here are the cards you can send your friends to remind them just how sexist America is:
There’s only one problem with all of this: the wage gap is a myth. In point of fact, women tend to take jobs that are less lucrative, work less hours, and take more time off than men. There are many reasons that women earn less than men on average: men choose more dangerous jobs that pay more, choose uncomfortable jobs that pay more, work weekends and evenings more, specialize in high-stress areas of business.
The Department of Labor has itself pointed out the reasons for the fact that women make less money than men, on average: a greater percentage of women work part-time, leave work to bear children, and value family-friendly jobs. As Charles E. James, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Contract Compliance, wrote back in 2009, “the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and … the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”
The proof is in the pudding: as Steve Tobek has pointed out, “Women business owners make less than half of what male business owners make, which, since they have no boss, means it’s independent of discrimination. The reason for the disparity, according to a Rochester Institute of Technology study, is that money is the primary motivator for 76% of men versus only 29% of women.”
Actually, in some areas women are at a significant advantage over men. The unemployment rate among women is lower than that for men. And as Carrie Lukas pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, “In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act has actually been stalled by the Democratic Senate because it’s so restrictive. It places the burden on businesses to show why wage discrepancies aren’t based on sexism, rather than on employees to show that such discrepancies are based on sexism. It would also dedicate oodles of taxpayer cash toward studying the mythical pay gap.