The Glass Ceiling: Equal Pay for Equal Work


For as long as I can remember I’ve been told that men earn more money than women do.  There are National Women’s organizations like The National Organization for Women and  Business and Professional Women and Feminists for Life.   These groups tell us the cold hard facts; women aren’t paid as well as men:

  • In 2007, women’s median annual paychecks reflected only 78 cents for every $1.00 earned by men.
  • Women’s median pay was less than men’s in each and every one of the 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007.
  • When The WAGE Project looked exclusively at full-time workers, they estimated that women with a high school diploma lose as much as $700,000 over a lifetime of work, women with a college degree lose $1.2 million and professional school graduates may lose up to $2 million.

Is this true?

It depends on what you mean by “true”.

For example, I have a dentist.  You could say that I only make 50% of what my dentist makes.  Most likely you’d be right, give or take 20%.  Or 30%   ;-(

But is that a true measure of earned income?

For example, it is also true that my dentist works 50% more hours than I do.  So, if we earn the same amount of money per hour, it stands to reason that he makes the SAME as me, not more.

Another example might be my salary and the average salary of a logger.

My occupation has a FOI, Fatal Occupational Injury, rate of 0.9 per 100,000 employees per year.  That is, for every 1 million of me’s out there, 9 of us die at work.

Loggers?  Their FOI is 111.6!  That is, for every 1 million loggers, 1116 of THEM die at the office each year!

Might it not be reasonable that a logger is compensated in some way for that extra risk they take?  I think so.  Though, curiously, my wife recently put a “Try Logging!” career guide on my desk……

My point is that many MANY more things besides being a man or a woman go into salaries and wages.  WAY more.

For instance, did you know that:

  • The FOI for all men is 6.1 while it’s only 0.6 for all women?
  • Across all civilians men work an average of 4.52 hours a day.  Women work 2.99.
  • Of people who work, men work an average of 8.44 hours a day.  Women 7.42.
  • Men who work full-time spend an average of 5.95 hours during the weekend.  Such workers who are women work an average of 5.26 hours.
  • Across all civilian, the hours that men spend working when they have a child under 6 years old is 5.36.  Such people who are women work an average of 2.68 hours per day.

In fact, wanna know what happens when you take a woman and a man with the same life experiences?

June O’Neill, an economist at Baruch College and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has uncovered something that debunks the discrimination thesis. Take out the effects of marriage and child rearing, and the difference between the genders suddenly vanishes. “For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap,” she said.

The point can be made that women and men do different “chores” and have different responsibilities at home.  But you can’t say that men make more than women in the work place.

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