DunsonA battle cry of the modern third-wave feminist movement revolves around the concept of a “wage gap,” the idea that women in modern society earn around 20 percent less per year than men.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does indeed show that as of 2015, women’s median annual earnings are around 80 percent of men’s median annual earnings in the U.S. ($40,742 for women vs. $51,212 for men).

However, in order to arrive at this figure, you have to divide all the money women make by all the money men make. You,  then, reach a percentage indicating that the total amount of money earned by women is less than the total amount of money earned by men.

There are two main issues with this. First is that it confuses, in the public imagination, wages with earnings. When you tell a woman that she earns 80 cents to the dollar, what she thinks is, “I get paid less for doing the same amount of work as a man.”

This is not true as that has been prohibited by law since 1963 under the Equal Pay Act.

The second issue is that it simply doesn’t take into account the different life choices that men and women make. A total earnings comparison doesn’t consider simple biological realities such as pregnancy, life choices, and the different priorities that women have.

For example, women statistically take longer holidays, work shorter hours, and make less money for their firms. None of those choices are negative, women simply tend to want to have more of a balanced life.

Men, by societal programming or simply testosterone and natural competitiveness, are more likely to spend long hours in the office, try to outperform their colleagues, and collapse at the end of the day. Women don’t tend to follow those same priorities.

In fact, a study done by the U.S. Department of Labor (the same department which releases the pay gap statistic) concluded after reviewing over 50 peer-reviewed papers that the pay gap “may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

The study also found that when adjusted for these choices, the pay gap is narrowed to about four cents on the dollar.

Some may argue this doesn’t dismiss the issue, that any sort of pay gap is unacceptable, but the reality is, it’s a lot more expensive to be a man.

Men pay more throughout relationships and courtship, paying over 60 percent more for Medicare and other state medical benefit programs despite using these programs less.

Also, men pay more for retirement and pension plans, but on average die 4.8 years earlier than women.

If a man is involved in a divorce, he will almost infallibly get the short end of the stick, and child support payments can be astronomical.

Men pay more for college. There are almost no male-only scholarships but tens of thousands of scholarships for women.

Men pay more for insurance across the board.

Feminists, typically, do not want to acknowledge any of this, and instead, laser focus on this flawed statistic and notion that society economically oppresses them.

Why they don’t look into the reasons behind what they’re citing is understandable, as economics is messy and complex, and we all know anyone who went into “Gender Studies” probably didn’t take too many math classes.

It is far simpler to blame everything on men.

In my opinion, there is a perfectly reasonable conservative argument that says men should provide for women, cherish them, and look after them when they have children. We shouldn’t expect women to snap right back into the workforce immediately after having a child. We should allow them to have a healthy and balanced home life.

That doesn’t go to say that there may be cases where a woman chooses to focus more on her career and a man chooses to focus more on his family. Those are a family’s individual decisions, but overall, I believe men have a responsibility to provide for their families.

However, that doesn’t seem to sit well with many of my peers.

The perpetration of the “wage gap” is harmful to feminism. It takes away from the credibility of the feminist movement, and it takes focus away from actual, important feminist issues, such as the continued oppression of women in the Middle East.

Blake Dunson is a senior at Godwin who guest wrote for this issue. Dunson contacted the Eyrie, asking if he could write an opinion piece. We are open to more guest entries, contact us with the information in our staff box.

Here is the opposing view to Dunson’s article: http://godwineagles.org/blog/2017/04/28/equal-opportunity-is-not-equality-by-online-editor-in-chief-emma-ford/

5 Comments
  1. Ethan Gale 7 months ago

    absolutely amazing article, keep on writing and keep on going!

  2. Divya Atluri 7 months ago

    I would first like to make it known that I am by no means attacking the author of this article, I am simply voicing my opinion.

    Living in the 21st century where there have been so many progressive movements for our human rights, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about all the injustices women have faced over the years. That means I’ve also spent a lot of time facing those uncomfortable situations that occur simply because I am a woman and furthermore a woman of color. I’ve either seen, heard of, or personally faced instances where women get sexually assaulted, discriminated against in the workplace, and paid a lower salary than their male counterparts.

    As a 17-year old woman with a curious personality, I happen to be in a peer group which generally discusses the latest news at good ole Mills E, so I was utterly shocked by your article which goes on to try and say that the wage gap is reasonable.

    A gender wage gap has existed for decades and is not just some false claim feminists make. Women with graduate degrees earn just 69.1% of what men with graduate degrees earn and those with bachelor’s earn 71.4 % of men’s salaries (IWPR). Your article stated that a women should not be upset for earning “80 cents to the dollar” a man makes because that is not a wage gap; however, on a larger scale a women would be earning $800 to a man’s $1000…..that seems like a gap to me. Those 20 cents add up quickly and will end up impacting the amount of your social security check (Time).

    The second issue I had with this article was the broad claim about “the different priorities” women have. Women work every bit as hard as a man and saying that women “take longer holidays, work shorter hours, and make less money” simply is not true. There is no statistic or evidence supporting that claim and to be completely honest, my mother puts in more work than my father, yet she is still paid significantly less for doing more work in the same field.

    Furthermore, the article had a claim that “it’s a lot more expensive to be a man”. Men are not at any obligation to “pay more throughout relationships and courtship”. The simple need to feel in charge is why a man pays for during relationships. There is no rule that states a women cannot pay, and in this day and age many women pay for themselves because they are independent and empowered human beings.

    I apologize that men “get the short end of the stick” when it comes to child support payments. It’s not as though women are raising, feeding, clothing, driving, spending time with, and caring for the child. Is it so much to ask for some child support to compensate for all the work that the man is not doing?

    In regards to the “tens of thousands of scholarships for women”, they only exist because women were not admitted to colleges until as recently as 1980 (NWHM). These scholarships are a way to encourage women to go into fields like engineering and computer science that are dominated by males. Additionally, there are scholarships for men; these scholarships are simply not titled “for males-only”. Football scholarships only go to men, many education and nursing scholarships are tailored to men, and clearly any scholarship that requires an eagle scout goes to a male.

    Lastly the rude comment that anyone who goes into “‘Gender Studies’ probably didn’t take too many math classes” was unnecessary and false. I am planning on majoring in Gender, sexuality and women’s studies not because I am incompetent, but because it is a subject that truly interests me. I obviously haven’t taken that many math classes because it’s not as if I am math honor society president or anything. It’s not as if I am currently taking 2 math classes and am probably in a higher math class than most of the people in grade.

    To conclude, I would really appreciate if these claims had some support or evidence because otherwise it is just me reading a somewhat rude opinion. thx

    • Calee 7 months ago

      that’s my girl div div the diva

    • ELizabeth Mordica 6 months ago

      Thank you for setting this article straight

  3. James 7 months ago

    Best article I’ve ever read

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