Why do women earn less than men?
While we’re far from perfect as a society, we’ve come a long way with regard to how women are treated in the workplace.
Gone are the days, certainly, of the Mad Men era. Women are no longer viewed as curvy, lipstick-covered servants, rather seen as equals capable of matching and – in many cases – professionally surpassing their male counterparts.
So, why do women still earn a fraction of what men do?
You’ve no doubt heard of the discrepancies between the annual salaries of men and women in the modern workplace – but have you ever heard a satisfying explanation for why this is?
Consider that, during a time when women routinely achieve a higher level of education than men, men still earn just over 18 per cent* more on a full-time, hourly-wage basis than women, according to income data from 2009.
(This figure, 18.1 per cent, is actually less than the 18.2 per cent difference from 2008’s numbers.)
The New York Times recently took such an incongruity to task and came up with a few, if unsettling, conclusions.
By their count, the overarching reason for wage inconsistencies between men and women lies in the latter’s insistence on joining professions that routinely pay less.
Yes, not exactly rocket science, but the NYT points to occupations such as early education, special education, social work and family studies – which are statistically dominated by women workers – as an explanation for why women earn less. The thinking here being, by most tallies, these professions lead to the lowest salaries among the full-time working population.
Now, this is not a criticism of such professions; while historically offering low pay, there are many, many reasons women may continue to gravitate to this kind of caring, humanitarian-based work. But it doesn’t satisfy us that we can just point to women doing different jobs than men as the reason for earning lesser pay.
Because, how can we explain this? It’s just come out that Canadian women university professors earn a lower wage – by at least $15,000 per year in most cases – than the male professors at their same schools. So, there are no differences in occupation here. Same job. Same qualifications. Less pay. What gives?
While labour leaders debate the ongoing professor pay scandal across Canada, what do our MSN readers think? Why do you think women continue to earn less money than men?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: SP | Aug 16, 2021 5:50:50 PM
Stevie Wonder plays piano & sings at the peak of his career, young white woman at a folk festival sings and play a piano but Stevie Wonder makes more $. Clear evidence that the music industry favours old black men. Same job right?
Posted by: Mike | Aug 16, 2021 7:05:08 PM
Try being a male in a female dominated proffession...you have to look at the industry involved...not just a blanket statement looking to point a finger at pay inequities. I have been in the healthcare industry for over ten years and with 5 times the education of the average female yet i earn 30%+ or less because I am a male...no other reason. Some areas of industry suffer reverse discrimination and either sex can take advantage of it...we need to get these pollsters out of the dark ages of finger pointing and blanket accusations...there is inequity everywhere.
Posted by: Seejay | Aug 16, 2021 8:03:26 PM
Women are also discounted because they are assumed to take off time in the middle of their life for family raising. Ie) If you hire someone @ 25 and pump all that money in training them and then they leave at 28-30 that's a lot of money and time down the tubes. Men are expected to have a higher expected value of staying with a company for a longer period of time. I know if I had two identical candidates but one was planning on having children soon I'd take the one i figured wasn't going on Matt leave or leaving all together.
Posted by: Duke Nukem | Aug 17, 2021 8:40:30 AM
Ya that maternity leave is a killer.Tiny female brains don't help either.
Posted by: JN | Aug 17, 2021 4:48:07 PM
Pay at universities is largely based upon time in the profession based on plateaus and education level (diploma, bachelor's degree, masters, phd). You can't ask a dumb question without any information and leave it open ended to poor interpretation. Well there may still be inequalities between men and women in the workforce (I don't know), this article is not well thought out, and does nothing to help.
Posted by: Smarter than you | Aug 18, 2021 12:34:36 AM
Your mother must be so proud of you. Did she spend any time with you on her maternity leave or did she leave your rearing to your unemployed father.
Posted by: craig | Aug 18, 2021 12:40:06 AM
This is such a non-issue, I'm soooo sick of reading about it!!!!! do the proper math and there isn't any difference....
Posted by: malamisu | Aug 18, 2021 1:40:24 AM
Actually, the research out there suggests a few explanations for the gendered wage gap, and occupational segregation is only one reason. Other reasons include : women are less likely to negotiate for wage increases or high salary (because some women fear backlash from their colleagues), as well, various studies suggest that there are more women in leadership within organizations, however, it is still in the lower rungs (not senior managers), and there are various studies which suggest that women are often promoted into work situations that tend to be "problematic and essentially set women up to fail- this is the glass cliff phenomena proposed by Ryan and Haslam.
Posted by: Cindy | Aug 18, 2021 2:38:22 AM
I am sick and tired of this argument about maternity leave. Just because women are the ones that have to carry a child doesn't take human rights away from them. Shame on all of you for saying that they don't deserve the same pay! Come on, we are humans and as such they will come back and work again. Women work as hard as men and at times if not harder and vice versa. Guess it would throw you off if a man went on paternity leave. FYI if you don't want to pay a woman as much or hire her simply because of her gender (also assuming she is going to have children) means that you are violating the law! So shut up and give us the legal right to work and get paid as much as men.
Posted by: CA | Aug 18, 2021 2:53:12 AM
My Econ 101 professor told the class that women earn less than men because women are not desired. Instead, companies prefer to hire men over women. There are extensive studies that show that with the same level of experience and education, women still earn significantly less than men. Even within the same profession.
To illustrate further where women are most desired is in the sex industry. There are women earning 6 figures as professional call girls. Supply and demand.
Posted by: TH | Aug 18, 2021 3:42:30 AM
Cindy, it may be against the law to not hire someone because that person might go on mat leave, but it is human nature to look for maximum return on investment. The pay discrepancy is simply a form of risk premium. This is exactly the same as why insurance compancies charge a much higher premium for young male drivers. Besides, let say you need to hire a contractor to build your house. You have suspicion one will have to leave the job before the house is done while the other can follow through the whole job. Who are you going to hire? It may not be fair, but you cannot force people to go against their own best interest. Besides gender, other inequalities exist in the work place. Taller and better looking individuals are generally easier to find a job or get a higher pay. Fat people are not going to have the same opportunity as thiner and healthier people.
Posted by: ctchmeifucan | Aug 18, 2021 7:49:34 AM
Simple answer....men are paying them.
Posted by: don | Aug 18, 2021 1:50:30 PM
I dont by the mat leave thing as a lot of women who have no childern...or their childern are grown are still paid less. How is that explained away?
Posted by: stephan harper | Aug 19, 2021 7:10:59 PM
someone should ask me. no one seems to notice i was trying to remove equal pay for both genders. i hid it in a budget speech. the same speech where i tried to slip in corporate funding for political parties. remember? no? that's why i think i'm so wily.
ah well, never mind. go back to whatever you peasants think is important.
Posted by: Duff | Aug 20, 2021 12:28:56 PM
It is simple supply and demand. Anyone (male or female) in a free society deserves whatever pay they get. If someone feels they are being paid too low, all they have to do is quit and find a job that pays what they feel is a fair wage. So I say, woman that are doing the same job for less money then their male counterparts are suckers and deserve less pay.
Posted by: mame | Aug 21, 2021 9:54:34 AM
Duff...you're only exposing your ignorance by saying that....lol
Banks are one of the most blatant exploiters of women. The majority of employees in branches are women to whom the bank pays wages that are poverty level and in turn, they expect astronomical returns for every penny paid. They monitor every employee like big brother, scrutinizing under a microscope the performance of each employee with weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reviews. One major Canadian bank has actually has hired a company to do monthly surveys on their employees and any results less than perfect brings down the thunder. Bottom line driven, the banks have turned into the epitomy of the greedy, sociopathic Scrooge. They expect nothing less than 100% loyalty and performance from their slave labor force and are not willing to extend one shred of loyalty or committment to their employees.
I really have to shake my head in disgust when I see their "people" or "environment" concerned commercials on TV, knowing how atrociously they treat their own employees.
Posted by: Funku2 | Oct 16, 2021 5:14:56 PM
Hey Duke Nukem
Duke is a prime example of the though proses in the workforce. Duke you should put your dick back in your pants and start using your brain. if you did use your brain you would notice the structure and productivity within the work force is being done by women.
By the way Duke. I work in Human Resources and I would like to let you know that with the Parental Leave insurance offered by the Canadian Government apparently is real appealing to men in todays work force.
Sooooooooooo lets look at this again
Men apparently are also a burden and waste of training dollars to companies.
Yes men do make more money and nobody out there better even think for a moment that is not true.
I think if men make more then women, men should also pay higher tuition then women.
Posted by: Mark | Dec 2, 2021 9:14:31 AM
If women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, why are corporations male dominated? Why would companies hire men when they could cut their costs by almost 25% by hiring women. Money trumps discrimination. They would do this in a heartbeat if they could.
Here is how feminists determine discrimination: John and Jane Doe have equal educations. John and Jane work at the same company. John and Jane were both hired on the same day. John earns more than Jane. Clearly this means the company favors men, right?
Wrong. The studies and statistics never show who took more sick days; who had more profitable ideas; who was more tardy; who was more personable, etc...
The problem is that it is hard to prove if someone is discriminating. No one can read an employers mind. Perhaps he did discriminate. No one can honestly say. He is the only one who knows what he is thinking.
I am willing to bet that most male employers would pass a lie-detector test if they were asked whether or not the discriminated against women. Unfortunately, feminists would then claim that lie-detection technology could not be trusted. It's lose-lose. It's always the fault of men.