Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Wage Gap: The Truth Behind the Make-Up

By Anne Gribbin, Eagle Forum Intern - Washington, D.C. 

After butchering her response to a fairly softball but “confusing” question from an audience member, Miss Utah Marissa Powell went on the “Today” show and, according to the New York Daily News, “redeemed herself.”

Host Matt Lauer asked if he could give her another chance: 
“Here was the question: In 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

To which Miss Powell responded, “So this is not OK. It needs to be equal pay for equal work, and it’s hard enough already to earn a living and it shouldn’t be harder just because you’re a woman.”
Let other pens dwell on the hilarious hypocrisy of beauty pageants; the issue we find interesting is one that has gotten remarkably short shrift. Lost among the throngs of people irate that we can no longer turn to our pageant contestants for sure-footed advice on societal concerns floats the real issue – the original question.

First off, Miss Powell was right about one thing: that question is confusing. Scroll up and read it again. Now, can you think of a statement more spectacularly vague than “women continue to earn less than men”? Is this an average? Are we including dependent mothers and homemakers in it? If so, we can only say: thank God. As Phyllis Schlafly notes in her book, Feminist Fantasies,
We certainly don’t want a society in which the average wage paid to all women equals the average wage paid to all men, because that society would have eliminated the role of motherhood. The career of motherhood is not recorded or compensated in cash wages in government statistics, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. It is the most socially useful role of all.”       
If we are indeed talking about all women, employed or not, then Miss Powell is in fact bemoaning the continued existence of the stay-at-home mom. Problem is, those women don’t want to be bemoaned. They made a choice to sacrifice a great deal of time and financial support for the good of their kids; they made a commitment to raise their children in the manner they thought best. Of all women, they complain the least and, arguably, put up with the most. And they really, really don’t like being told that they are consequently backwards and obsolete.

Perhaps you are now thinking, “Obviously that’s not what the question meant. Why would they compare all women to all men?” But it’s been done before. That’s how, in the early 80s, feminists were able to talk about women earning 59 cents for every man’s dollar.

Let’s assume, however, that the averages are of the employed only. If our statement is still true, what could possibly be the excuse for that? What does that say about our society?

Not much. At least, nothing we didn’t already know and accept.

There are a few points we need to appreciate here. The first is that women have babies. If they don’t decide to become full stay-at-home mothers, they will still most likely take some time off for maternity leave, and often work part-time afterwards. So right off the bat, we find that even employed women work fewer hours, on average, than employed men.  This, of course, means that they do not get promoted at the same rate as men.

Furthermore, women don’t do dangerous and dirty jobs, or those that require gross physical strength. There are the odd exceptions, of course, but coal-mining, plumbing, construction, and the like continue to be “male-dominated fields” and as far as women are concerned, they can stay that way. What sex is your contractor? And your toddler’s preschool teacher? Right.

It’s not so much that women can’t do these jobs as that they won’t, not if you paid them triple the money. The men who perform strenuous, hazardous and filthy tasks work hard, and the strain, hazard and filth are taken into account in their paychecks. What part of that is injustice?

If that’s not enough to convince you that there is no foul play here, remember that, despite Miss Powell’s concern, equal pay for equal work has been the law of the land since 1963. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces it ferociously, and rightly so. If there really were a prejudice in the system responsible for the so-called “wage gap,” it would be well and truly sued and penalized out by now.

This may seem like a lot of scrutiny for a Miss USA query, but the question is indicative of a ubiquitous feminist mindset. It goes something like this: Statistics show an imbalance; women are not doing as well as men. This is unacceptable. It must be discrimination. Do something, government!

According to the feminists, any difference between men and women is a problem that needs fixing. This not only casts men as villains, women as perpetual victims, and government as the hero, it works against basic human nature. To borrow a phrase from Miss Powell, “So this is not OK.”

It is not OK to be willfully ignorant of the actual facts, preferring to cloud the issue so as to continue playing the injured party. Check out this video that shows just how fraudulent the claims are:

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