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Why women make less than men in the work place

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Gabriel Tobal posted on Sun, Jan 29 2012 7:59 AM

I was listening to Walter Block's lecture on labor economics, but I don't recall him covering why women typically make less money than men do in the work place. can anyone please elaorate why this is?  

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwogDPh-Sow

 

I saw this thread and I'm like "I can help!" :)

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Damn it Wheylous, that video covered f***ing everything! Way to steal my thunder!

Annnyyway. What I can contribute here is that 

The wage gap in America has been closing over time. This process has slowed since the turn of the century (which is of course a fun way of saying the last decade) which would suggest that we are reaching the point where the career decisions/the current discrimination level meet. This is to say that of course there is some discrimination against women in the workforce, but that in order to break that initial barrier there needs to be innovators who promote themselves and break through the "glass ceiling". If this happens then the fact is that it's going to be broken, but so long as women remain at lower levels then that's not going to go anywhere too fast. On the other hand as public opinion continues to liberalize (a slow process) then wages will start to equalize even without a large push from women because those seeking jobs higher up will seem more employable. This whole state of affairs can be seen in the fact that the higher up on the ladder you go, the fewer women are working there. For instance managerial positions are equal for men and women, but then there's a steep falloff from that point, suggesting that there isn't a huge anti-female conspiracy in business, but rather that fewer women start attempting to grab these jobs, which is an entirely reasonable thing to expect.

It's also important to note that the argument for the individual conservatism of the people as playing a larger part in the matter seems vindicated by statistics involving wage inequality internationally. The relatively conservative and traditional country of Japan has a huge income inequality between men and women, whereas France has a much smaller one, and the United States has a noticeably larger level than France's, but much smaller than Japan's. It is quite likely we will see business policies promoting women in the future, because it would appear that companies which higher women are noticeably successful (which makes sense from any number of points of view).

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/21539928

The market economy gives people what they want. Wage discrimination cannot be maintained in a competitive environment because the potential monetary gain from hiring women is too intense to ignore on the part of business. The capitalist economy will do whatever it can to rush to satisfy the wellbeing of the consumer. In the long run business will fall into line, all points in between where business is the problem in the equalization of income have no chance of lasting. All that matters in the long run are the choices of the individuals in question. It is ultimately the actions of women, in what they do with their lives and how this affects their worth within the market economy that will determine the pay they receive. Women, and all other groups, inevitably have nothing to look at but themselves.

I hope that helps.

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Verified by Gabriel Tobal

Gabriel Tobal:
I was listening to Walter Block's lecture on labor economics, but I don't recall him covering why women typically make less money than men do in the work place. can anyone please elaorate why this is?

The very notion of a "wage gap" is nonsense, economically. Labor is a factor of production like iron or wheat. Employers bid for labor according to supply and demand. They always want to hire the cheapest labor that can do the job. If any type of labor, say women, was less costly for the same value, then employers would preferably hire women until their wages are bid up to the level of men. That's why a "wage gap" in the fashion the feminists envision it can't actually exist in a market economy. Any employer who wants to discriminate would have to choose to hire more expensive labor at the cost of his bottom line. Even if he was willing to pay the price - and aren't we told that they're too greedy and selfish for that? - he would put himself at a competitive disadvantage and eventually lose out to employers who don't discriminate. The only way discrimination can exist is if the government stifles competition or mandates equal wages, then discrimination is free. Socialism subsidizes discrimination!

But what about statistics that say that women only make x cents for every Dollar men make? Well, partly they're just made up by angry feminists. Secondly, they compare groups that just aren't comparable. Women tend to choose different careers than men. Men like engineering, women like social tasks. Obviously different jobs pay differently. So then let's correct for that, let's compare what they make for "the same job". Doesn't work either, because men tend to work longer hours. Then let's correct for that too! Nope, there are differences in age, experience and training. Let's correct for that too... whoops, our wage gap is gone. In fact, women are already ahead of men in a lot of prestigious fields once you correct for a few legitimate differences. For example in college. But it's not like feminists care about that kind of inequality. It's only a problem when it's the other way around. Feminists don't care about equality, that's just an argument to get more state-enforced special privileges for their class.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwogDPh-Sow

 

I saw this thread and I'm like "I can help!" :)

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Damn it Wheylous, that video covered f***ing everything! Way to steal my thunder!

Annnyyway. What I can contribute here is that 

The wage gap in America has been closing over time. This process has slowed since the turn of the century (which is of course a fun way of saying the last decade) which would suggest that we are reaching the point where the career decisions/the current discrimination level meet. This is to say that of course there is some discrimination against women in the workforce, but that in order to break that initial barrier there needs to be innovators who promote themselves and break through the "glass ceiling". If this happens then the fact is that it's going to be broken, but so long as women remain at lower levels then that's not going to go anywhere too fast. On the other hand as public opinion continues to liberalize (a slow process) then wages will start to equalize even without a large push from women because those seeking jobs higher up will seem more employable. This whole state of affairs can be seen in the fact that the higher up on the ladder you go, the fewer women are working there. For instance managerial positions are equal for men and women, but then there's a steep falloff from that point, suggesting that there isn't a huge anti-female conspiracy in business, but rather that fewer women start attempting to grab these jobs, which is an entirely reasonable thing to expect.

It's also important to note that the argument for the individual conservatism of the people as playing a larger part in the matter seems vindicated by statistics involving wage inequality internationally. The relatively conservative and traditional country of Japan has a huge income inequality between men and women, whereas France has a much smaller one, and the United States has a noticeably larger level than France's, but much smaller than Japan's. It is quite likely we will see business policies promoting women in the future, because it would appear that companies which higher women are noticeably successful (which makes sense from any number of points of view).

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/21539928

The market economy gives people what they want. Wage discrimination cannot be maintained in a competitive environment because the potential monetary gain from hiring women is too intense to ignore on the part of business. The capitalist economy will do whatever it can to rush to satisfy the wellbeing of the consumer. In the long run business will fall into line, all points in between where business is the problem in the equalization of income have no chance of lasting. All that matters in the long run are the choices of the individuals in question. It is ultimately the actions of women, in what they do with their lives and how this affects their worth within the market economy that will determine the pay they receive. Women, and all other groups, inevitably have nothing to look at but themselves.

I hope that helps.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Great video!

The irony is that Marxists and many other socialists advocate the very thing that Dr. Horwitz mentions at the end - changing the perception of gender roles is what will really lead to (greater) equality between men and women. However, they might also argue that traditional gender roles are and have been reinforced by what they call "the capitalist system".

As an anarcho-capitalist, my interest is freedom. I don't consider social norms to be oppressive unless they involve justifying violations of self-ownership (i.e. aggression). If prevailing social norms lead to aggregate income disparities for men vs. women, so be it.

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Gabriel Tobal:
I was listening to Walter Block's lecture on labor economics, but I don't recall him covering why women typically make less money than men do in the work place. can anyone please elaorate why this is?

The very notion of a "wage gap" is nonsense, economically. Labor is a factor of production like iron or wheat. Employers bid for labor according to supply and demand. They always want to hire the cheapest labor that can do the job. If any type of labor, say women, was less costly for the same value, then employers would preferably hire women until their wages are bid up to the level of men. That's why a "wage gap" in the fashion the feminists envision it can't actually exist in a market economy. Any employer who wants to discriminate would have to choose to hire more expensive labor at the cost of his bottom line. Even if he was willing to pay the price - and aren't we told that they're too greedy and selfish for that? - he would put himself at a competitive disadvantage and eventually lose out to employers who don't discriminate. The only way discrimination can exist is if the government stifles competition or mandates equal wages, then discrimination is free. Socialism subsidizes discrimination!

But what about statistics that say that women only make x cents for every Dollar men make? Well, partly they're just made up by angry feminists. Secondly, they compare groups that just aren't comparable. Women tend to choose different careers than men. Men like engineering, women like social tasks. Obviously different jobs pay differently. So then let's correct for that, let's compare what they make for "the same job". Doesn't work either, because men tend to work longer hours. Then let's correct for that too! Nope, there are differences in age, experience and training. Let's correct for that too... whoops, our wage gap is gone. In fact, women are already ahead of men in a lot of prestigious fields once you correct for a few legitimate differences. For example in college. But it's not like feminists care about that kind of inequality. It's only a problem when it's the other way around. Feminists don't care about equality, that's just an argument to get more state-enforced special privileges for their class.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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Wheylous replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 12:45 PM

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lol Wheylous

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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Women might not earn most of the money, they do spend most of it though. ;)

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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Nero How could you say such things?

 

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"Suggested by MaikU" :P

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Love your post, Nero. Good job.

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tunk replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 10:11 PM

I would also see the relevant chapter of Thomas Sowell's Economic Facts and Fallacies. He digs up two extremely interesting facts (among many): the proportion of women represented in Who's Who in America in 1902 was more than double the proportion in 1958, and the female proportion of academics was likewise rising from 1910 to about 1930 and declined thereafter; there were more women in college faculties in 1930 than in 1961 (even at women's colleges run by women). Keep in mind this was decades before the rise of feminism.

At the same time, the median age of women first married was higher in the early decades of the 20th century than in mid-century. The birth rate in 1933 was also as low as it would later come to be in 1966, after a peak in the 50s. And of course, the decline in early marriage rates and birth rates were even more drastic at the turn of the century, while the number of women in the workplace as a whole increased dramatically for the first time in history.

This suggests that there are strong historical correlations between the amount of children women have (negative) and the age at which they marry (positive), and their representation in higher-level occupations and the labour force in general. Women have more of an opportunity to take jobs and earn money when they are relieved of the burden of having to marry young and have lots of children. (In 1900, that was likely caused by economic development; in the 60s, by the end of anti-communist propaganda stressing the virtues of hearth and home.) This correlation has more explanatory power when it comes to the rise of women in the workplace than other narratives which focus on anti-discrimination laws or the influence of feminism.

As other people in this thread have pointed out, you shouldn't compare apples with oranges. Sowell's most important finding is that "[a]mong college-educated, never-married individuals with no children who worked full-time and were from 40-64 years old - that is beyond the child-bearing years - men averaged $40,000 a year in income, while women averaged $47,000." Compare like with like among the never-marrieds and you find that women earn more than men. Women who marry are usually burdened with more domestic responsibilities (especially child-rearing!), and so decide to take jobs that require less training, fewer hours, etc., which also pay less. Even if they go on to divorce, this can impact their earnings through the resume.

Higher-earning jobs typically require much longer work hours. A fifth of the highest income earners work more than 60 hours a week and relatively few are female. Many women have simply concluded that it is not worth it to "have it all," to attempt to care for a family while doing stressful, high-salary work. Women are making choices that are right for them, in other words (that don't quite conform to the visions of professional social engineers).

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I had shown that Horwtiz video regarding inequality in pay in another forum pretty hostile to libertarianism.  You could have powered a small town from the wind power generated by the point flying over their heads.

The two most common responses were along the lines of 1.) Accusing Horwtiz of "reframing the question in an attempt to makethe issue go away and 2.) Howitz shoots himself in the foot and "proves" we need to subsidize female workers to achieve equality.

Number 1 is just totally ridiculous, as Horwitz is certainly not attempting to say that there is no forms of gender inequality present in our society, but rather that the "popular" view of how those inequalities play out is flawed and false.  It's not that women are actually paid less than men dollar-for-dollar at the same jobs as men, but rather that women are groomed by society to fill those roles that end up paying less in the long run, and vice versa for men. The critics here entirely miss the point of the video.

Number 2 is just plain bad thinking in general.  Subsidizing the pay of traditionally female jobs will give you...more of those jobs.  It does nothing to shift the roles and instead will further entrench the social habits.  Subsidizing female applicants to traditionally male roles is an injustice to the individual male applicants.  The inequality problem is not primarily created by discriminatory practices in hiring or pay, but in the cultural underpinnings of our society.

I'm not one to dismiss feminism whole cloth, as I certainly think they're right on many issues.  But as I saw another libertarian post, leftists/statists are very narrative-oriented.  Attacking the narrative that they base their opinions on never really ends well and often ends up with a bunch of ad-hominem attacks.  Horwitz's video and reasong is a direct attack on the common narrative that State intervention in wage rates and hiring practices is needed to achieve gender equality.  Instead, he posits that intervening in these areas won't fix the real isue, and instead will create other imbalances and injustices.  Horwitz is focused on actually trying to find the real causes, and as a reward lefists accuse him of handwaving away the issue because it goes against thier narrative.  It's all about the story, not the facts.  As always, it seems that so many of our opponents are more concerned with how things look and feel than whether any lasting change is achieved.

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Grossly collectivizing tens of millions of distinct individuals into gender groups strips them of the beautiful, unique attributes they possess, and makes me absolutely sick.

It's completely antithetical to the idea that our substance is determined by our character, our values, and the decisions we make as *individuals*, rather than our gender. So therefore, I reject the premise of the entire question.

Statism has bred such rotten ideas. It makes me want to puke.

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