6 thoughts on “Five Myths about the Gender Pay Gap

  1. From the article:

    “Rather than disproportionately rewarding workers for putting in long hours and making themselves available around the clock, they should reward high-quality work and allow employees more of the flexibility they need to balance work and family demands.”

    If an employer finds that “rewarding workers for putting in long hours and making themselves available around the clock” results in higher profits than rewarding “high-quality work” and allowing flexible schedules, do ya’ll think employers still have an obligation to switch to the system which results in women getting paid more? That is, do employers have a moral obligation (and should they have a legal obligation) to put the advancement of women above their own business interests in some instances?

  2. I’m sympathetic to what slip says above. Appealing to the employer’s profit motive runs a real chance of backfiring in just that way. You might call me an old school socialist who has gone out of style, but there’s nothing better than collective action and appealing to the employer’s fear of getting crushed by a united group of workers.

  3. …and on that note, unions, democratic workers organizations, and radical groups need to get with the program and incorporate gender equality into their campaigns. Some groups do a great job, but every organization needs to have this at the top of their list.

  4. I haven’t read her paper yet, so please correct me if I say something wrong, but from what I gather, what Claudia Goldin – who is mentioned in the Washington Post article – has shown is that, if employers didn’t reward workers more than proportionally to the number of hours they put in, the gender pay gap would be greatly reduced if not disappear altogether. She has found that, in most occupations, wage is not a linear function of the numbers of hours worked, i. e. someone who works 40 hours a week is paid more than double what someone who does the same job but only works 20 hours a week gets paid. So, if this wasn’t the case, then although men would still be paid more than women on average because they tend to work longer hours, at least their hourly wage would get closer if not identical.

    Now, I may be wrong, but I think that what slip meant is precisely that, unless making wage a linear function of the number of hours worked is conducive to higher profit, one shouldn’t expect that to happen. Another consideration that seems relevant here is that it would probably be unfair to make wage a linear function of the number of hours worked. Indeed, the marginal cost of work is presumably increasing with the number of hours worked, i. e. it is more costly for you to put in an extra hour of work if you’ve already worked 40 hours this week than if you’ve only worked 20 hours. Which is why someone who is working 40 hours a week probably should be paid more than double what someone who does the same job but only works 20 hours a week gets paid.

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