Las Vegas Review-Journal Pushes Job Choice Myth To Dismiss Gender Pay Gap

››› ››› JARED HOLT

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's editorial board dismissed the gender pay gap as an "injustice that doesn't actually exist," asserting that pay inequality between women and men is due to women's job choices. In reality, studies repeatedly show that gender pay inequality plagues women regardless of job choice, "at all education levels, after work experience is taken into account," and "gets worse as women's careers progress."

Review-Journal: Gender Pay Gap Is An "Injustice That Doesn't Actually Exist," And Is Really Due To Women's Job Choices

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Gender Pay Gap Is Due To Job Choice. A January 29 Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial cast doubt on the existence of the gender pay gap. The board dismissed the fact that women are paid less than men in identical job positions as an "injustice that doesn't actually exist" and blamed pay inequality on women's job choice (emphasis added):

No matter how many times journalists, economists or professors dispel the myth of the gender pay gap, Democrats continue to push it.

[...]

Also devoted to bringing public attention to this injustice that doesn't actually exist is the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE).

[...]

As has been pointed out time and time again (and again and again), the NCPE's wage gap figure -- the claim that women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men -- does not account for the different types of (and different-paying) jobs men and women typically choose.

Women tend to gravitate toward jobs with less travel and greater flexibility. They are more willing than men to sacrifice salary for a better quality of life -- especially if they have or are planning to have children.

Men, on the other hand, are typically more motivated by pay -- often because they have kids -- and tend to be much more willing than women to put up with less-attractive work conditions if it means they'll earn more. They're more likely to work longer hours or overnight shifts, and also tend to take the jobs that women don't want, like jobs that could get them hurt -- or worse. [Las Vegas Review Journal, 1/29/16]

Studies Show That The Gender Pay Gap Persists For Women At All Education Levels, At All Stages Of Their Careers, And Regardless Of Career Choices

NWLC: Gender Pay Gap Cannot Be Dismissed As The Result Of Women's Choices. A September 2015 report from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) explained that the wage gap occurs "at all education levels, after work experience is taken into account," that it "gets worse as women's careers progress," and cannot be explained away by "the occupational choices that women make":

The wage gap occurs at all education levels, after work experience is taken into account, and it gets worse as women's careers progress. An NWLC analysis found that in only three occupations out of 111 are the median weekly earnings of women working full time not lower than those of men: computer occupations; wholesale and retail buyers; and bakers. Skeptics of the wage gap may also insist that the wage gap exists because of the occupational choices that women make. However, this argument ignores the fact that "women's" jobs often pay less precisely because women do them, because women's work is devalued, and that women are paid less even when they work in the same occupations as men. Cases of company-wide pay discrimination are further evidence that discrimination contributes to the wage gap.

Women are underrepresented in higher-paying jobs that are often dominated by men, and overrepresented in low-paying jobs--women are two-thirds of workers in occupations that typically pay $10.50 or less per hour, as well as two-thirds of minimum wage workers. Isolation, active discouragement, harassment, outright exclusion, and lack of information about alternative job options are all barriers to women's entry into higher-wage jobs that are nontraditional for their gender. In contrast, women are clustered in low-paying jobs like home health aide, child care provider, and nursing home worker.

A study by labor economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn also demonstrates the effects of a variety of factors that influence the wage gap, like occupation, industry, work experience, and more. However, Blau and Kahn found that when you look at all of these factors combined, 41 percent of the wage gap still remained unexplained.[National Women's Law Center, September 2015]

AAUW: Gender Pay Gap Cannot Be Fully "Accounted For By Women's And Men's Choices." The American Association of University Women (AAUW) explained in a 2015 report the gender pay gap "is not fully accounted for by women's and men's choices," noting that the gap persists even after "accounting for college major, occupation, economic sector, hours worked, months unemployed since graduation, GPA, type of undergraduate institution, institution selectivity, age, geographical region, and marital status":

Critics charge that pay differences between men and women are simply a matter of personal choices. AAUW addressed this argument in our 2012 report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation. Our analysis found that just one year after college graduation, women were paid 82 percent of what their similarly educated and experienced male counterparts were paid. An earlier report, Behind the Pay Gap (AAUW, 2007), found that 10 years after graduation, the pay gap widened, and women were paid only 69 percent of what men were paid.

In part, these pay gaps do reflect men's and women's choices, especially the choice of college major and the type of job pursued after graduation. For example, women are more likely than men to go into teaching, and this contributes to the pay gap because teachers tend to be paid less than other college graduates. Economists often consider this portion of the pay gap to be explained, regardless of whether teachers' wages are considered fair.

Yet not all of the gap can be "explained away." After accounting for college major, occupation, economic sector, hours worked, months unemployed since graduation, GPA, type of undergraduate institution, institution selectivity, age, geographical region, and marital status, Graduating to a Pay Gap found that a 7 percent difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates one year after graduation was still unexplained.

Similarly, Behind the Pay Gap found a 12 percent unexplained difference in earnings among full-time workers 10 years after college graduation. Other researchers have also found that the gender pay gap is not fully accounted for by women's and men's choices. [American Association of University Women, Fall 2015]

Economic Policy Institute: "Women Still Earn Less Than Men Across The Board." According to an April 7, 2015 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), women's hourly wages are still less than men's "across the board" at every level of income, but the disparity expands as incomes rise:

The figure below shows hourly wages in 2014 for men and women across the wage distribution. At every decile, men out-earn women. At the median, women's hourly wages are only 83 percent of men's hourly wages.

Though the gap between men and women's wages is smaller for lower-wage earners, there is still a significant gender wage gap at all levels of the wage distribution, particularly at the middle and the top. To close this gender wage gap, women need to see wage growth faster than their male counterparts. Although women have seen modest wage gains in the last several decades, the main reason the gender wage gap has slowly narrowed is that the vast majority of men's wages have stagnated or declined. The best way to close the gender wage gap is for both men and women to see real wage increases, with women at a faster rate than men. [Economic Policy Institute, 4/7/15]

Las Vegas Review-Journal's Editorial Echoes Right-Wing Media Denial About Gender Pay Gap

The Blaze's Dana Loesch Calls Gender Pay Inequality "An Absolute Myth." On the January 13 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, conservative commentator Dana Loesch claimed that gender pay inequality is "an absolute myth" that "goes down to women's choices":

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN (GUEST): But the issue that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was pointing out was the issue of diversity. And that's defined by the policies you advocate, Megyn. And as long as the Republicans keep advocating policies against pay equity for women and keep advocating for--

DANA LOESCH (GUEST): That is a myth. That is a lie.

MEGYN KELLY (HOST): Go ahead, Dana

LOESCH: That is an absolute myth. The whole pay inequality thing. That goes down to women's choices. Don't sit here and say that you are empowering women by giving them the choice to go out do whatever they want to do as a profession and then when they don't choose according to your patriarchal will, Robert, then penalize them for making less on the dollar.

ZIMMERMAN: Doesn't matter how you want to spin it--

LOESCH: No, that's the truth. You sound like Bernie Sanders. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 1/13/15]

Fox's Eric Bolling: Gender Pay Gap Only Exists Because "Men Take More Risks." On the February 23, 2015 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling claimed the gender pay gap exists because "men take more risks" than women do:

ERIC BOLLING: So your monologue correctly points out that women live, on average, almost 5 years longer than men, and there's a reason for that. Men take more risks. They take more risks in life and therefore they die sooner. Smoking, drinking, whatever. But they also take more risks in business. Right? They start businesses at a higher frequency than women and that would account for some of it. [Fox News, The Five, 2/23/15]

Fox Host Falsely Claimed Equal Pay Is No Longer An Issue. On the February 23, 2015 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, contributor Stacey Dash criticized actress Patricia Arquette for speaking out about pay inequality, asserting that it was no longer an issue. Dash said, "In 1963, Kennedy passed an equal pay law. It's still in effect." [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/23/15]

Fox's John Stossel: Concerns About The Gender Pay Gap Are "Childishly Stupid." On the March 12, 2015 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business' John Stossel asserted that concerns about the gender pay gap are "childishly stupid":

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST) : Will throwing more money at inequality make things better?

[...]

JOHN STOSSEL: Trillions later, no. And it makes things worse in many ways.

[...]

This women, men pay inequality stuff is so childishly stupid. If it were true then all the non-sexist companies would hire women and get rich because you women are underpaid. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/15]

Posted In
Gender, Economy
Show/Publication
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stories/Interests
State Media
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