Does A Wage Gap Exist?

Does A Wage Gap Exist?


From Reason:

The divergent career paths of men and women may reflect a basic unfairness in what’s expected of them. It could be that a lot of mothers, if they had their way, would rather pursue careers but have to stay home with the kids because their husbands insist. Or it may be that for one reason or another, many mothers prefer to take on the lion’s share of child-rearing. In any case, the pay disparity caused by these choices can’t be blamed on piggish employers.

June O’Neill, an economist at Baruch College and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has uncovered something that debunks the discrimination thesis. Take out the effects of marriage and child-rearing, and the difference between the genders suddenly vanishes. “For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap,” she said in an interview.

Interesting, no? And should we really care that there’s a wage gap if child rearing is skewing the numbers? After all, while mother’s can’t get paid for it, being a mom is probably one of the most important jobs to have.


  • rachel

    What does this make me think? That our society, as a whole, does not value children or the time and effort spent on rearing them. I knew that already; that’s why I chose not to have any.

  • confused

    Rachel, I agree totally with you and that is one of the reasons that our birthrate is declining in the US.

  • Telly

    There’s definately a wage gap, even in industries where the women are in men’s traditional jobs. As a manager, we had to true-up the wages to industry standards due to the huge disparity in wages. Some women got a $25K raise in one fell swoop, while most men who got a raise eeked out a couple grand. Some companies take action only when there is threat of a lawsuit. Much of the disparity is due to the male boss gives the plum work assignments to other males and then tthe men have an opportunity to add new skills to their resumes, which perpetuates the wage gap.

  • Barb

    Oneill is not looking at the whole picture when she states, “For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap,” she said in an interview.” She is likely comparing similar job titles and for those males and females in the same jobs, it’s more likely that the pay is the same because most will eventually reach the top pay rate after enough years in the job. The women today hardly take any time off for child care and family leave, and most families are two-income out of necessity. The facts are that males are still much more represented in the senior management levels and the women are promoted much less frequently to Senior and CEO levels. How does she explain away this disparity?