By Jim Brow

A spokeswoman for the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), a conservative women’s group, says protests against the supposed “wage gap” between men and women are much ado about nothing.

Today feminists will be observing “Equal Pay Day” by holding a rally on Capitol Hill. And last month, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) bemoaned the fact that women make “just 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes” and reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would require employers to prove that wage disparities between men and women are not a result of gender discrimination.

Carrie Lukas is vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women’s Forum and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism (Regnery, 2006). She says the statistic cited by Senator Clinton does not tell the whole story.

“The simple truth is that women often make very different decisions about their careers than men make,” Lukas contends. “Women take off more time to care for children; we gravitate toward different careers — careers that provide some flexibility so we have more time to spend with families. And even full-time working women on average spend about a half-an-hour less per day in the office than men do.”

The IWF spokeswoman says she is “a perfect example” of how some of the pay-gap issues work. “I’m a full-time worker, but I’ve traded compensation in order to work full-time from home,” she notes. “I’ve got a little daughter and another one on the way. Am I making as much money as I could? No, but I’m compensated by having this wonderful work arrangement where I get to work flexible hours.”

That 77-cent wage discrepancy between men and women does not take into account the many factors by which women are paid, Lukas contends. She says women can make different choices if higher pay is what they are looking for, but giving the government more power to end the wage disparity between men and women “may in fact exacerbate some of the challenges women face.”