As if Tax Day weren’t enough misery for the month, April 2 marks “Equal Pay Day,” supposedly pointing out the day when the average woman reaches the earnings of the average man the year prior.
Kamala Harris is making the issue a centerpiece of her campaign. “Our daughters should grow up knowing their work is worth just as much as anyone else’s,” the 2020 hopeful said just yesterday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agrees, noting that women are “working for free” for the first three months of the year. Even the Girl Scouts are getting in on the act, with CEO Andrea Bastiani-Archibald announcing on BOLD TV, “We’re doing everything right but it’s still not changing the workforce environment for us.”
Last week, the Democratic House passed updates to the national wage discrimination law in the form of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, many argue would be more of a boon to trial lawyers than to actual working women.
There’s just one problem: at the heart of the pay gap “problem” the left is trying to solve are not cackling sexist employers, but the free choices of women themselves.
The Department of Labor compiled more than 50 peer-reviewed studies and concluded that the often-cited 77 cents on the dollar gap — calculated by comparing the average female wage with the average male one — was “almost entirely” the result of differing career choices rather than discrimination.
Despite earning more degrees than their male counterparts, American women continue to frustrate left-wing feminists by making different work-life balance decisions. When given the same choices as men, women select different fields of study, value flexibility over salary, work fewer hours, and avoid physically dangerous employment.
Four out of five of the top-paying college majors have large majorities of male students, while the reverse is true of the five lowest-paid majors, where women boast large majorities in all but one. Women take about twice as many unpaid hours off, and men work 83 percent more overtime. And a plurality of mothers with young children still report that their ideal situation involves part-time, not full-time, work.
Even when subjectivity is removed from compensation, the wage gap persists. Uber, which pays its drivers by formula, was surprised to find that it, too, had a male-female wage gap. When women are free to choose their own hours and work environments, they consistently choose differently than men.
And who’s to say they’re wrong? It’s odd that liberal feminists, who cast themselves as defenders of a victimized sisterhood, define success purely through a traditional masculine lens and are so unwilling to validate the choices made by real-life women across the country.And yet, despite a mountain of evidence, Americans will see the myth of the wage gap perpetuated every year with the celebration of “Equal Pay Day.” I wish I could say it was an April Fool’s joke.
Proponents of “Equal Pay Day” and the Paycheck Fairness Act will use the platform to encourage the freest, most prosperous, most privileged generation of women that has ever existed in human history to think of themselves as victims of systemic sexism in the workplace. In reality, rather than waging a war against sexist discrimination, Equal Pay Day sends the message that unless women make the same decisions as men when it comes to work and family, it’s a political problem for the federal government to solve.
Individual cases aside, the wage gap doesn’t represent the victimization of women in the United States. Instead, it is simply a reminder that on the whole, when freed from the constraints of subsistence poverty and given the opportunity, men and women take different paths in life.
That freedom — made possible by the enormous wealth creation of capitalism — should not engender bitterness, but gratitude.