Speaking on stage at the fifth Democrat presidential debate in Atlanta today, presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) cited the widely-debunked myth of the “gender pay gap” as one of the reasons she is running for office.
“The reality … is that women are not paid equal for equal work in America,” said Harris, referring to the gender pay gap.
“We passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, but fast-forward to the year of our lord 2019, and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar, black women 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents, Latinas 53 cents.”
The “gender pay gap” is a common talking point used on the left wing of Western politics to imply that women and men are not paid the same amount of money for the same amount of work. This is not true.
Even The Atlantic, a liberal publication, has called the gender wage gap “famously false.” (See: ‘Equal Pay Day’ Reminds Us That The Gender Wage Gap Myth Persists).
It is federally illegal to pay men and women different rates for the same work and has been since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the law that Harris cited. But the law does not ban inequality of outcomes — if men and women make different career choices that result in lower pay, that is not illegal.
The “gender pay gap” referred to by many left-wing politicians and commentators actually refers to just such an inequality of outcome. It refers to the average pay of American women vs. the average pay of American men, without controlling for factors like occupation choice or hours worked.
When women as a group are compared to men as a group, they earn less overall. But they also work less hours overall, make different choices of occupation, and take more leave of absence.
As Breitbart News’s Tom Ciccotta highlighted in a 2017 article:
Accounting for these relevant factors, such as hours worked, marital status, number of children, education, occupation, number of years of continuous uninterrupted job experience, is crucial to understanding the differences that arise in salary. Controlling for just the total hours worked lessens the gap to 10.7 percent. In fact, when all of these factors are controlled for, the wage gap almost disappears entirely.
Even The Atlantic has called the gender wage gap, “famously false,” after they cited a PayScale study that revealed that “that the wage gap nearly evaporates when you control for occupation and experience among the most common jobs, especially among less experienced workers.”
In other words, there is a gender pay gap — but it’s not the sexist, discriminatory outrage that left-wing politicians like Harris often present it as. And it’s certainly not men and women being paid different rates for the same amount of work. Rather, it’s a group difference in outcomes explained by the different career choices that men and women make over the course of their professional lives.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.