During the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama
You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns...Women deserve equal pay for
I believe this claim needs to be addressed and it seems many news organizations also sought to either discredit or give credence to the claim. I
believe here, we should examine the truth and validity of the statement put forth and the context
. I emphasize, because the organizations who
are cheering for the president have removed the context and placed the statement into a vacuum and those who just want to smear the president just
throw statistics out without providing context.
First, I believe we should highlight some of the organizations who addressed this "gender gap" and anaylze how they placed it into their context and
not what the president clearly was implying.
First we have The Washington
and here is their analysis in part:
There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women — such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have
children — make it difficult to make simple comparisons.
Obama is using a figure (annual wages, from the Census Bureau) that makes the disparity appear the greatest. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for
instance, shows that the gap is 19 cents when looking at weekly wages. The gap is even smaller when you look at hourly wages — it is 14 cents —
but then not every wage earner is paid on an hourly basis, so that statistic excludes salaried workers.
In this, I will say that the WaPo examined the statement correctly. It was an apples-to-oranges comparison that benefited the president's argument
but was hardly true to the context in what was meant. I give WaPo a 9 out 10 for this.
-- in which they declare it is "mostly true"
It's worth noting that the entire 77-cent gap is not necessarily due to discrimination -- a conclusion some listeners might have drawn when
hearing Obama mention "equal pay for equal work" shortly after citing the 77-cent figure. And there are alternative calculations that show a smaller
overall gap. Still, the 77-cent ratio is a credible figure from a credible agency. We rate the claim Mostly True.
This is their conclusion. You can read their "methodology" on how they claim to come to this conclusion. Where I have a problem is that they clearly
have identified the president's intent and context, but instead separated their analysis from that and achieved the above. Most notably, their
acknowledgement of "...gap is not necessarily due to discrimination..." The $.77 gap is one number in a myriad of statistics that compare, as the
WaPo clearly expressed, apples-to-oranges.
Moving onto the other side of the "aisle", we see the argument doesn't really focus on what the president says, but rather pointing out that his own
White House is "guilty" of this "gender-gap" that the President says we need to "fix". According to Beritbart, the White House is paying their women
staffers less than men. I do believe there is still question here as to what statistic is being used. Are we truly looking at this equally?
So what is the truth on this? On one hand, I challenge ATS readers to bring to the forefront of actual gender-discrimination in which someone of
equal ability (including education, skill, time willing to work, etc) is being paid less because of their gender. On the other hand, I compel readers
to read this article, from all places,
The author does an excellent job of cutting through the selective cherry-picking of data by both sides and presents data in a straight forward
I leave you with this:
The point here is not that there is no wage inequality. But by focusing our outrage into a tidy, misleading statistic we’ve missed the actual
challenges. It would in fact be much simpler if the problem were rank sexism and all you had to do was enlighten the nation’s bosses or throw the
Equal Pay Act at them. But the 91 percent statistic suggests a much more complicated set of problems. Is it that women are choosing lower-paying
professions or that our country values women’s professions less? And why do women work fewer hours? Is this all discrimination or, as economist
Claudia Goldin likes to say, also a result of “rational choices” women make about how they want to conduct their lives.
Bah, I can't find my missing tag to correct my broken links.....Just google the Beritbart article...I botched the tag...
edit on 30-1-2014 by
ownbestenemy because: (no reason given)