Are women paid more or less than men? If you look at hard statistics, this question seems rather trivial. As a post about the industries that pay women less than men pointed out earlier this week, women earned just 80% as much as men in equivalent jobs. But Carrie Lukas, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, isn’t convinced. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, she argues that statistics purporting to show that men earn more than women largely exaggerate the situation.

She points out that simply comparing men and women is like comparing apples to oranges. Lukas writes:

Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women–not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics–are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics.

The risk premium partially explains the higher earnings of men. She also points to a 2010 study that found, when comparing workers with similar circumstances, women actually earn an average of 8%more than men.Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal