The Gender Wage Gap

Heidi Hartmann talks about the different ways we measure the gender wage gap today on the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Blog. It’s a bit dense, but really informative. Near the end, she makes a strong case for examining the determinants of the wage gap, rather than questioning whether it exists. In particular, she points out a subtle, but important point regarding what I like to dichotomize as outright versus institutionalized discrimination.

Several comprehensive literature reviews that have been published in peer reviewed scholarly journals conclude that about 25 to 40 percent of the wage gap remains unexplained. But most of these studies do not assess whether some of the differences observed between women and men that might help explain the gender wage gap, like college major, are themselves the result of discrimination or of limited choice sets faced by women and men. In a world where most social workers are women and most engineers are men, few women and men may consider training for occupations that are nontraditional for their gender.

Girls and young women go into fields that pay less. It’s also hard to go into a field dominated by men. It’s not that women can’t perform in these fields, but it’s not particularly easy. I’m in one, and without the help of many amazing mentors (male and female), and female role models, I wouldn’t be here. We owe it to girls to figure out why. Case in point. And here is some good, related reading. And here’s Feministing today on the pay gap in medicine.

h/t Mark Price

Equal Pay Day

The end of the semester is starting to kick my butt, so posting here might be a bit light in the next couple of weeks. On May 2, I’ll be in San Francisco for the PAAs. If anyone else is going, I’d love to meet up and chat.

Today is tax day, and I was super confused why until Matt Yglesias explained it for me. I was a bit stressed about filing my local tax return on time yesterday (which, I don’t even really understand. Why can’t the state just collect it and distribute? Commonwealths, I don’t get it. Whatever.). It’s unclear to me whether it would have been late had I sent it today, but I guess better not to know, right?

As well as tax day, by coincidence, today is Equal Pay Day. As you might guess, it’s something I can get behind. So I’ve collected some links about Equal Pay. I totally had just planned to slap them up here, but (see above) I can’t even put up a link list without pontificating on something.

  1. Me, last week, on proposed language for new work law in Venezuela, as presented by a consortium of women’s groups.
  2. Text of Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009 (pdf)
  3. Mitt Romney and advisers refusing to say whether he’d support Lily Ledbetter Act
  4. Tweets on #EqualPayDay and #fairpay
  5. Stevenson and Wolfers on the subsidies for the rich that are written into the tax code, a class issue, but Betsy has also been vocal about how it subsidizes one-earner, two-parent families, essentially penalizing women who work. (if you didn’t see her on Up with Chris Hayes this weekend, check it out, she’s kind of a rockstar. Like a nerdy rockstar economist, but you know what I mean).
  6. Gender wage gaps by state from the National Women’s Law Center (h/t @Fem2pt0)
  7. Some facts from the National Committee on Pay Equity
  8. Colbert on the War on Women, Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Act, and Glen Grothman
  9. Clara Jeffrey and Monika Bauerlain of Mother Jones on women in journalism. Part of a bigger discussion within journalism about women writers. Not going to close the pay gap if women aren’t writing the big stories, too. (Me, earlier, on distribution of women writers/editors/reviewers in big magazines)
  10. Raise the minimum wage, from Bloomberg (h/t @price_laborecon 10 & 11)
  11. How to end the gender pay gap in seven steps, awesome post on The Nation from Bryce Covert
  12. Feministing has a good list as well. I’ll let you look at them yourself rather than repost them all.
  13. And because no discussion of feminism, apparently, is complete without a reference to a Ryan Gosling meme, here’s a nod to the same. (h/t @ridahb)
  14. Last, but not least, the Department of Labor’s Equal Pay Day release.

I’m sure more will come up during the day, so I’ll update, and feel free to send good ones my way. If by some chance you haven’t dressed yet, AFSCME says wear red to stand up for equal pay.