Last week, Republican Senators, along with a handful of their Democratic counterparts, rejected the Paycheck Fairness Act. Supporters of the bill claim that this measure would bring pay equality to women and minorities in the workforce. Whatever that means.
Despite the whining from the media and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, there is no need for another bill demanding equal pay for women. Overall, the average man in the workforce makes more than the average woman, but when you take everything into consideration, it’s actually women that make more.
Statistics show that when all factors are considered -- experience, education, time on the job, etc. -- women make more money than their male counterparts. So why are women as a whole earning about 80% of what men are making?
Many factors go into determining the wage of an employee, and thanks to the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and Lily Ledbetter, gender is not one of those factors. Women are more typically the primary caregivers, and many choose to take time out of the workforce to stay home with the children. It’s an admirable choice, and one that definitely qualifies as work, but expertly changing diapers with one hand or making the perfect playdate snack from a recipe you found on Pinterest isn’t exactly something you’ll put on your resume.
Even moms that work outside the home are usually the go-to person when the kids are sick, daycare is closed, or the nanny calls in sick. On average among fulltime workers (those working 35+ hours a week), men worked 8.2 hours while women only worked 7.8. Funny thing about employers – they like to pay people more when they work more.
Women are also more likely to pursue ‘fulfilling’ career paths, rather than one that will land them in a high-paying job. Women dominate the interior design field, and the average pay is less than $40,000 a year. Compare that to electrical engineering, where nine out of ten people with a degree in the field are male, and the average salary jumps to almost $80,000.
It’s a great time to be a woman. We have so many options available to us; no one can keep us from getting an education, casting a vote, or choosing our own career paths. It’s preciously that freedom that leads to the supposed wage gap. We are free to work flexible schedules without sacrificing motherhood, or to forgo the workforce entirely to stay home with the kids.
We don’t need more legislation to combat paycheck unfairness, because the only thing ‘unfair’ about our paychecks is how much the government withholds for taxes.
Image via Victor1558/Flickr