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Gender gaps

Julian Jessop, at the Institute of Economic Affairs’ blog:

Few can have failed to notice that UK companies with 250 or more employees are now obliged to report specific figures about their ‘gender pay gap’. Supporters argue that the data are helping to expose the disadvantages that many women face in the workplace. In my view, though, the system is failing.

For a start, the data are frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. Variations in hourly wages or bonuses between men and women are often interpreted – wrongly – as evidence of different pay for the same work. This sort of discrimination would, of course, be illegal. It would presumably be uneconomic too; if women were indeed willing to do the same work for less money, they would surely be over-represented in the highest paying jobs.

Readers in the UK will also have noted an increase in volume of news stories about the so-called gender gap in pay and overall remuneration as it affects women. I am not dismissing concerns about this as fabricated or an example of Leftist mischief-making against the market economy, although I am sure such criticisms would be valid. But as Jessop says, there is a basic problem with the approach that many critics take in assuming that the State should “do something” about it, or that the simple fact of group A earning, on average, less/more than B is ipso facto proof of some wrong being committed. (I urge people to read the whole article; one of the most silly sleights of hands of those trying to make out that there is a major issue is to lump part-time and full-time jobs together.)

The great Thomas Sowell, debunker of many woolly ideas, has dealt with the gender gap issue, as the linked Youtube clip shows.

The US-based economist Tyler Cowen has argued that the gender gap will eventually close and it seems, largely for reasons unconnected to interference by the State.

23 comments to Gender gaps

  • In today’s climate, gender gaps prove one of two things:

    If women earn less, it’s proof men are bastards.

    If women earn more, it’s proof women are superior.

    I’d rather not play that game. Fortunately, I’m retired, and don’t have to.

  • Eric Tavenner

    I read an article years ago, don’t remember where, of a study that showed that given the exact same qualifications for the same job women make 5% more than men. Most of that apparent pay gap is that men overwhelmingly do the most dangerous, and thus more highly paid, jobs.

  • Sean

    I understand there is a ‘gender gap’ at Uber too. Maybe that would be an ideal laboratory to investigate the underlying reasons? It probably is – so will be studiously ignored by the zealots and their enablers in the know nothing media.

  • the other rob

    It’s all bullshit. I isolated myself from all that crap years ago. Unless you’re my attorney or my CPA, you get a flat rate. Same as everybody else gets. $10 an hour.

    You can make a case for more money and, if it turns out that you’re making me more money than I thought you were, I’ll give you more money. But you have to demonstrate it. Otherwise, $10 – which is way higher than minimum wage in most states.

    Who wants to hire somebody who’ll work for minimum wage? No, that’s wrong. “Who wants to employ anybody at minimum wage for an extended period of time would be the question” There’s never a long term commitment at minimum wage. Either you’ll perform magnificently and be elevated or you won’t and will be fired.

    Meh, it is something that we should address. But I’m watching Archangel on Netflix and it’s gripping, even though I have read the book and know whats coming.

    Worth a look.

  • Paul Marks

    Men and women are NOT generally paid differently for doing the same job – and if there is discrimination for who gets what job it is normally discrimination AGAINST MEN, especially white men.

    As for the establishment – the education system, the media, the political leaders (and so on) they should be told to STOP LYING. I am sick and tired of Frankfurt School Marxism (in this case the Frankfurt School idea that women are “exploited” and “oppressed” by capitalism) being presented as “liberalism” or even “Progressive Conservatism” – if all the political parties (including my own) just repeat the lies of the Frankfurt School of Marxism (the lies about “sexism”, “racism”, “homophobia” and so on – the general “exploitation” and “oppression” Marxist lie) what is the point of holding elections.

  • It is rather sad that, while waiting for the next Rotherham, Rochdale or Telford to escape the conspiracy of silence, any attention our government could give to defending women specifically is diverted into this how-to-lie-with-statistics rubbish.

  • Stonyground

    “Most of that apparent pay gap is that men overwhelmingly do the most dangerous, and thus more highly paid, jobs.”

    Yes and don’t forget shitty jobs too. I’m sure there are women out there who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty but I think that there might be a lot more who are not. When women are complaining about being underrepresented in this or that field they never complain about the dearth of female industrial plant fitters or 360 degree digger drivers.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I understand there is a ‘gender gap’ at Uber too. Maybe that would be an ideal laboratory to investigate the underlying reasons? It probably is – so will be studiously ignored by the zealots and their enablers in the know nothing media.

    Freakonomics did an episode on this.


  • Johnnydub

    re: Paul Marks – “I am sick and tired of Frankfurt School Marxism”

    What you’re seeing is yet another manifestation of the uni-party. Its doesn’t matter who you vote for, you’re getting Cultural Marxism and globalism whether you like it or not…

    Things are going downhill pretty fast now, and they’re not shy about crowing about it.

  • Thailover

    Everyone knows that the gender wage Gap is complete and utter nonsense.

    The people who keep repeating it and touting it are Leftist activists, and its been refuted to their faces dozens if not hundreds of times. They are complete and utter frauds. And, I think, evil.

  • Phil B

    This paper, researched and published in New Zealand, shows that men support women through their tax and working and that women are an overall net fiscal drain on society :


    I daresay that this holds true throughout the western world too.

    I agree with Julian Jessop. If I have two candidates with equal experience, qualifications and skills, one a woman and the other a man and I can pay the woman 10 dollars an hour but have to pay the man 15 dollars an hour, why the hell should I hire the man?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Phil, don’t let the robots hear you making such pro-carbon statements. Let’s start being PC about droids now, so it will be automatic when they are present and can have their ‘feelings’ hurt. And you’d better start worshipping Hallah, the robot God.

  • Anonymous Coward

    The language I have seen goes like this: “The average woman at X earns y% less than the average man”. This does not work if you are a company employing several deep-sea divers and a receptionist. There may yet be a problem. Why don’t so many women want to be deep-sea divers? Perhaps there is some problem with the culture or with society.

    But it is hard to see how this would be the company’s fault, or what they could do to fix the culture and society.

    My wife suggested paying the receptionist more. This might be good PR. But there is a hazard: talented deep-sea divers might then opt for a safer life being receptionists.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Here is another possible cause: women are attracted to men who earn more than they do. In a marriage, it is therefore mostly more economical for the woman to reduce working hours to get other things done than it is for the man. The solution is same-sex marriages.

  • Mr Ed

    So the gender pay gap in modelling, what is Mrs May going to do about it?

  • Alisa

    women are an overall net fiscal drain on society

    Society has a budget?

  • Mr Ed

    Society has a budget?

    I’m not sure if even the US Congress has a budget.

  • Thailover

    “My wife suggested paying the receptionist more”

    Employers have wages dictated to them, either by the government, or by the market. If you want a quality receptionist, you must pay what a quality receptionist demands on the free market. Otherwise, she will just get a job somewhere else. And if you pay a receptionist too much money simply because she’s female, you are merely passing on that extra cost to your customer which is, of course, unfair and harms a company’s competitiveness.

  • Thailover

    “Here is another possible cause: women are attracted to men who earn more than they do.”

    Including hookers.

  • Alisa

    I’m not sure if even the US Congress has a budget.

    I’m sure that Congress is an overall net fiscal drain on society.

  • CaptDMO

    Pay gap?
    I wouldn’t know….you see…
    It’s ILLEGAL to to consider an employees sex, gender, bathroom choice, health, age, dress, etc.
    Additionally, SOME areas allow for self-identification in such matters.
    Even the appearance of bodacious tatas, or a stallions package, has been deemed an unreliable indicator.
    THEREFOR , this establishment has nothing to consider between worker units, other than merit, and history SOLELY at this establishment.
    We do not keep any records that may reflect such alleged discrimination.
    Any medical/insurance information is STRICTLY confidential of course.
    We regret we simply can’t help you in your latest survey.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Altogether well done, Capt.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Alisa, if ‘Pro’ is the opposite of ‘Con’, then what is the opposite of progress?