“Why is her paycheck smaller?”

asks the NY Times.  The answer we get is almost annoningly vague and incompete. 

Nearly every occupation has the gap — the seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the size of the paycheck brought home by a woman and the larger one earned by a man doing the same job. Economists cite a few reasons: discrimination as well as personal choices within occupations are two major factors, and part of the gap can be attributed to men having more years of experience and logging more hours.

For example, we don’t know what ‘men having more years of experience’ is supposed to consist in.  Are the average ages higher for the men?  Or is it independent of the fact that in many fields woman are relative newcomers?   And the logging more hours:  Are they suggesting that men worked longer days,  or are they thinking that women tend to take off more time?   Or what?  Are we seeing the ramifications of an inequality of responsibility for the home?  Is pregnancy a significant problem?  (Duh.)  What’s going on if having a baby can cost you 20 to 40% of your salary?  Doesn’t think look like more than an individual’s problem resulting from  “personal choices”?

Still, discrimination is first on their list.  IN ADDITION,  there is a great interactive chart, with fields broken down more than I have seen in some time.  Thus with in the ‘service sector’ jobs like sales clerk is separated from table serving and post office clerking.  It’s worth book marking; it looks very useful indeed.

Some interesting bits:

among medical scientists, women earn 37% less.

educational adminstrators?  Women earn29% less.

Postal service clerks?  Women make 4%  more..

9 thoughts on ““Why is her paycheck smaller?”

  1. I’m always frustrated by the discrimination Vs personal choice framing of these things– I haven’t had a chance to check out the link but there;s usually little examination of the societal forces involved in the ‘personal choices’.

  2. Exactly.
    And if a choice was made, has society no responsibility for what the consequences standardly are?

    There isn’t anything more to the narrative than what I’ve given here, as far as I can see.

  3. Check out the related article we ran in the November/December issue of Dollars & Sense magazine, where we made sure not to make the mistake of vaguely referring to “choices.” I just coded it (after a member of our collective let me know about the NYT article and your blog post), but I haven’t made it public yet. Here is the link: http://dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/1108battan.html

    I will most likely post it and blog about it at the D&S blog tomorrow (or our collective member will do so).

  4. Hi jj,

    Sure thing–I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve posted it. Your readers can go to the article now.


  5. zooeybiz, hopefully, no. And presumably they don’t do half as good a job. So maybe it going to “life choice”?? I.e., having a child?

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