Monday, February 23, 2009

Breathe a sigh of relief, ladies: The wage gap is a myth you're using to cover up your lazy approach at the workplace

...or so says Benjamin Ledford of the UI Argonaut:

Thankfully, I do not have to wonder about these claims anymore, because it turns out pay discrimination between the sexes is not the problem some would make it out to be. The Institute of Economic Affairs, a British think-tank, recently published a report that found British women between the ages of 22 and 29 who were employed full-time earned only 1 percent less than their male coworkers. Writers for the news magazine The Economist (not a right-wing publication) pointed out that for many women, this is the age when they are single, and, after marrying, they no longer need to impress anyone, whereas men are more likely to continue to connect their success to their paycheck.

I know that once I got married, I didn't care if everyone thought I was low-earning dirt. But why stop at 29? In 2004, the median age at which an American woman gave birth to her first child was 25. So most American women ages 22-29 aren't going to have children and second-shift caretaking falling to them to manage outside of work.

To think I worried that it was simply by virtue of my gender that I could anticipate less earning in my lifetime. Silly me! Only when I make the choice to have children and fail spectacularly at balancing work and home life do I pay the price in my wages. Earning money and financial independence? Sounds like a good thing to opt out of.

Take it away, Ben:

Additionally, the IEA report found women were more likely than men to choose a career in public or voluntary service, which typically pays less, and, of course, women were more likely to choose to leave the workforce to raise their families instead.
Thanks to the coincidence that men happen to contribute less to family caretaking responsibilities, their careers do not take a hit after they begin having children. Cleverly, they still care what people think about them and don't stop competing in the workplace once they've earned the only prize in life that matters: a spouse.

*Just a personal note about the editorial framing style where the writer pretends to care about a problem that affects others and is then relieved to discover they were worried about nothing: quit it. You had me all concerned about your struggle to understand why the world was making you worry over nothing, but the sympathy was fleeting. I'd appreciate the busting of the myth that college editorial writers cherry-pick and equivocate their way out of honestly exploring what the facts mean to the people who live them, but I'm not going to hold my breath while good ol' Ben's got a job at the Arg.
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