What people miss about the gender wage gap


When we talk about gender equality in the US there’s this one statistic you see all the time: “Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men make.” And while that statistic is factually correct, there’s a lot it doesn’t tell you. It simply compares the median wages of men and women who work full time. It doesn’t tell you how the wage gap plays out for women with different educational levels or different ages, or who work in different fields. And you need that information if you want to start closing the gap. Part of the wage gap reflects the fact that women are more concentrated in lower-paying occupations. But to fully understand the issue, you have to look within occupations too. Back in 2009, three economists set out to understand the wage gap by following a group of MBA graduates from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. They looked at thousands of men and women who graduated between 1990 and 2006. And their data showed that men had slightly higher salaries right out of the gate. One year out of business school, women were making an average salary of $115,000 while men earned $130,000. But nine years out of business school, things looked really different. Men were earning an average salary of $400,000, while women were earning 60 percent less —$250,000 on average. The gap had widened considerably. But research suggests the gap doesn’t stay that wide — that it shrinks as women enter middle age. This chart shows how the wage gap for college graduates changes as women age. The lower the line, the bigger the wage gap between men and women. If you look at women born in 1973, you can see the wage gap growing as they go from their mid-twenties to their mid thirties. Better than previous generations but heading in the same direction. Same thing for women born in 1968. The pay difference for men and women continues to grow as they move from their mid-thirties to their mid-forties. And for women born in 1948, things started off the same. The gap widens as they get older. But then, all of a sudden, it starts shrinking. As working women approach their 50s and 60s, the difference between men’s and women’s salaries gets smaller Which makes sense if you think about what often happens during a woman’s 20s and 30s. In the Chicago MBA study, women with kids had a wage gap twice as large as women without. The truth is that women take on a disproportionate share of child-rearing tasks. A survey from Pew found that in 2-parent households, women did more than men when it came to managing kids’ schedules, taking care of them when they’re sick, and handling the majority of household chores. And that was a survey of families where both parents worked full-time. But these additional responsibilities seem to hurt some women more than others. This is a key research finding from Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard who is a leading researcher on the gender wage gap. She shows this by exploring how gender pay gaps vary in different fields. This is one of her charts. Each of these dots is a different higher-paying job. The lower the dot, the larger the gender pay gap. The further to the right, the more the job pays, based on the average income of men in that job. These green dots represent jobs in the tech sector. For the most part, the jobs are pretty close to the 0 line, meaning the difference in pay between men and women is fairly small. The same is true for jobs in science. The yellow dots. But look as these red dots. They represent jobs in business. And they’re mostly clustered toward the middle and the bottom of the chart, meaning they have some of the largest wage gaps. There’s a fairly simple way to explain some of these differences—some jobs require specific hours. Others are more flexible. Take your prototypical businesswoman. Maybe she’s a venture capitalist, maybe she’s an accountant. Either way, she has a standard 9-5 schedule so she can meet with other businesspeople or with clients. If she’s not available to her clients when they need her, her bosses won’t think she’s doing a good job. Compare that to a scientist who works in a lab. Most of her work is self-directed. It doesn’t’ really matter when she runs her experiments, as long as she gets them done. If she gets her work done, her bosses think she’s doing a good job. For the millions of women in with jobs that demand very specific hours, the wage gap is larger than it is for women in jobs with more flexible hours There’s one job where we can see this really clearly. In 1970s, women pharmacists earned about 66 percent of what men did. Pharmacies used to be mostly independent businesses where a single pharmacist might be responsible for keeping his shop open whenever people needed it. Today, most pharmacies are owned by large chains. They stay open longer, which means they need more pharmacists. Women pharmacists now have a lot more options and a 6am to 2pm shift is just as good as a 9 – 5 shift. Nobody gets rewarded for working exceptionally long hours. And the wage gap for pharmacists has shrunk dramatically. Today, female pharmacists make 92 percent of what their male counterparts do. Of course, we can’t all be pharmacists. There will always be jobs where it’s important to work particular hours. But there are lots of jobs where hours could potentially become more flexible than they are right now. And research tells us the more we can make that work, the more the wage gap is going to shrink.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. 1. Women work less hours on average.
    2. Women are less likely to ask for a raise.

    This explains the wage gap within same occupations.

  2. Ok I had no problem with the video except for the point at the end, saying jobs could get more flexible hours. How do you know that’s as or more economically viable? Plus you didn’t give any examples

  3. Making less money because you prioritize caring for your family is not a negative thing. We need to respect women's choices in life.

  4. Somehow I feel Ezra Klein (chief editor at Vox) must have been on vacation the week this video got the green light to be posted. He would have a fit and cry sexism if he saw this, then go back to celebrating the slanderers at the SPLC and telling Sam Harris that Islam is a religion of peace.

  5. The wage gap is bs men on average work higher paying jobs more hours negotiate for higher starting pay are more likely to ask for raise and dont take off even when they are sick

  6. Men tend to work more than women. Remember, women are the same people who say doing laundry is "hard". All my jobs I've had women call out to party and I immediately volunteer to take the shift so I can earn some more cash. Even if it's a holiday like Christmas. Women don't work hard at all!

  7. Wage gap was outlawed in 1963 by President John F Kennedy. It doesn’t exist anymore, the disparity in wages comes I was entirely too personal choice is an average age. For instance man on average go into higher-paying fields and work more dangerous jobs. And the wage differences between difference between different races comes down to average age. For instance the average Latino is 28 The average black person is 33, the average age for an Asian person is 37 but the average white person is 43 quite a bit older. And given that wages generally speaking increase the older person is it makes complete sense that the average white person at 43 years old would make more than someone on average is 15 years younger than him or her

  8. I am a but hurt far left socialist their are study’s that prove that trump is responsible number 1 reason he is white!!!

  9. talking correct until the dictatorial western regimical utterly democratic dictatorial sentence "women still do disproportionally…"…..dictatorship of the west still lives on my friends still …goes on

  10. If the argument is that women spend more time taking care of children, the solution would not be to make flexible hours for them, its to let men take paternal leave. If you give them flexible hours, it only incentivizes businesses to pay them less.

  11. It's almost like human beings make individual choices are aren't just numbers on a spreadsheet, *gasp*.

  12. I read the MBA study. They forgot to mention that women refused to take more advanced classes, had lower grades, and would take jobs in gov rather than private which we know who’s wage grows lower than private. They literally refused to tell you 2/3 of the reason why theirs a wage gap… the other is because they have kids so they leave the work force.

  13. With the pharmacy example … they’re saying we shouldn’t own our own business to reduce the wage gap. Better to work for a multi billion dollar company than be your own boss.

  14. So…why didn't you include other factors such as:

    1. Men on average work 5-6 hours more a week them women.
    2. Men on average work more overtime or stay late.
    3. Men take less time off.
    4. Men are much more likely to ask for a promotion/raise.

    Also I like how you kinda glossed over the fact that women get pregnant…but ya thats a thing. A pretty major one at that.

  15. Seems to be a lot of downvotes for a fairly neutral video on some of the different reasons why the wage gap exists.

  16. If I was an employer and I could get away paying women less why woudnt I just employ all women lol save me money. Logic.

  17. So you're telling me that the "wage gap" exists because some jobs don't have flexible hours…
    For the woman to raise a child?
    Reality sure is sexist.

  18. If woman and men did the same work and were as good as eachother but companies could pay women less, then why don't they only hire women

  19. In the top 5 paying degrees, 4 of them are men dominated. In the top 5 least paying degrees, 4 of them are women dominated.

  20. Many people are misinterpreting this video, it doesn't say that there is no wage gap, but it says that, when taking other factors, like pregnancies and different career choices, into account, it shrinks from 23% to less than 7%. And 7% is still too much

  21. So tell me this, why don't companies hire just women and pay all of them less than men and save thousands of dollars? It would give them much better margins right? Nobody can answer this question for me

  22. I think this is the only VOX video that hasn't been so "left" leaning that I can actually follow some of their points with logic haha

  23. Tl;dr An average income gap exists because of choice but does not account for the entire disparity.

    It’s pretty abundantly clear that very few people went into this video with an open mind. Obviously a woman working the same job, hours, etc will make the same as a man, except perhaps with high-level positions, as the video suggests. On average, women as a whole make less than men for a number of reasons, not least of them the choice to rear a family. The wage gap will never fully be closed in our time because of those factors. The question then is how can we reasonably shrink it, and what are the factors causing the disparity:
    -disproportionate onus on the mother for raising children, which requires a change of societal values.
    -engaging more women in the economy; ideas such as subsidizing childcare would greatly help. That money would instantly allow families to spend more, while more women (AND men) enter the economy and aid it.
    -remnants of discrimination: if ‘Mary-Sue’ and ‘Beth’ DECIDE to have children, it is still discrimination to lower ‘Kate’s’ acceptance based on more women (2/3 in this case) having the burden of pregnancy, in an idealized world. Honestly ask if any “little-boy-clubs” (or vice-versa) still exist today. As the video says, business. Or imagine a road construction site; who’re the ones holding the signs?

  24. 1965 they passed a law concerning equal pay so it Is already illegal and if a company could save 20% on salary by hiring females then no one would ever hire males

  25. You legit debunked your own video
    Woman pay more attention to kids
    And males are more likely to do overtime because they are seen as the provider

  26. Ok so it seems that since woman choose to take on more extra responsibilities that they don't have to take on they can't work as much getting less pay

    Fair

  27. THE WAGE GAP IS A COMPILATION OF AVERAGE EARNINGS BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN; IT IS AND HAS BEEN ILLEGAL TO PAY WOMEN LESS FOR THE SAME JOB FOR NEARLY HALF A CENTURY.

  28. So basically the wage gap is real but only because our society still hasn’t figured out that women’s purpose isn’t to care for the kids

  29. Vox wants jobs to get more flexible with working hours so women earn more, since they mentioned women with more flexible jobs earn more than women with less flexible time? That doesn’t make sense.
    Instead of proposing to women to choose more well paid jobs, they want to change the jobs, which will just lead to men to also earn more if more flexible time means more money.
    Sorry Vox you came to the wrong conclusion.

  30. Men do riskier jobs and are in work more than women due to babys and women are usually the ones looking after the children it is against the law to get paid les or more its a myth if only people looked at the facts its also a fact men are phyiscally stronger meaning they have a better oportunity for jobs alsoo 99percent of work realated deaths are men.

  31. People don't realize that the only form of government with no wage gap is communism-and even that's a bit of a stretch lol

  32. Instead of solely focusing on making jobs more flexible why not adress the real issue… get men to do 50% of work of raising their children they are not doing (equal parental leave, feeding, bathing children, taking them to doctors appointments etc)

  33. I see two solutions to this problem. Wage increases for lower-income jobs. Encourage women to take up CEO and political positions, and ask for raises more. It's well-known that women are not as interested on average in CEO and political positions as men. That is why it's fair that women make up 25% of politicians because about 25% of the people running for office are women. If this has to do with their upbringing, then this can be fixed, but if this is just because women on average don't want those jobs, then the only solution is to raise the wages on lower-income jobs. Also, I find it ironic that women in the US are the majority of people going to and graduating from college, yet they're still under represented in higher income positions.

  34. If the pay gap was true as you say, thank why would any company/boss or whatever bother hiring men if they could just hire women for less pay and same quality of work?

  35. It's funny how these people treat choices as social obligations. No one forces you to have kids, nor to take care of kids while your husband doesn't. This is not a social problem, it's an individual problem. And to suggest that it has to do with discrimination, that's just ridiculous.

  36. So if women would just stop having kids and work a little bit harder we don't have to listen to them complain that they're lazy and they like having kids and staying at home? If my wife wanted to go to work and work long hours while I stay at home with the kids I would gladly make less money than a woman does.

  37. Men should really get around 20-30% more than woman, men require around 2500-3000 calories per day just to function properly,Whereas women only require between 1800-2300 to function properly. Women's lives and jobs are so incredibly easy compared to mens, the most difficult thing a woman will ever face is giving birth but that's the most natural thing on earth, i do more work in a week than most women will do in month.

  38. In the coming years, I wonder how society will account for the emerging trans community in these economic models? Will it fix the issues or make them worst?

  39. Sorry, 250,000 is not “60 percent less than 400,000” it is 60% of 400,000, or 40% less…. obviously semantics, but it changes the of the statistic pretty heavily.

  40. We learn in grade 4 math we need to compare apples to apples. You need to compare men and women who work in the SAME job and who have made the same choices (e.g. no time off, same number of hours, etc.)

  41. Jordan peterson amongst many others have repeatedly debunked this claim with included source material of facts and figures.

  42. Yeah, maternity leave and overtime affect a lot. Maybe if you used better data…but nah! Google found the wage gap affected men negativley and they had to give raises.

  43. 1:15– how is $250k 60% less than $400k? I agree that women should be paid the same (not 92% of what men make, but 100% of what men make) as long as they are doing the same jobs for the same number of hours, but where is the 60% coming from here?

  44. What women need are part-time jobs with flexible hours that pay well per hour. Think nursing, but without the overwhelming suckiness. Unless they don't want kids, in which case they should get paid as well as men but don't because prejudice.

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