Fake news about the “wage gap”, and the real gender gap

Summary: Models show that women are underpaid vs. men. But key factors are ignored in their calculations. But there is a serious gender gap in the work world. Many jobs done by men have far higher fatality rates, result in physical exhaustion by their late 50s, and have harsh working conditions. Will the government narrow that gap?

She would be a great roofer, which would narrow the pay gap.

Woman protesting for gender pay equality
Photo 158215451 © Alinabuzunova – Dreamstime.

It is that time of year again, with a flood of articles about the gender wage gap. My favorite is the World Economic Council’s terrifying calcuation that “At current rates of progress, it may take another 202 years to close the economic gender gap globally.” Of course, it’s about the children: “Young Girls Are Confused And Angry About Gender Pay Gap.” These assume that anything not accounted for by their models is discrimination.

The Department of Labor’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report points to one of the real gender gaps. Women worked 44% of the total hours of paid civilian work and had a fatal work injury rate of 0.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Men worked 56% of the hours and had a death rate of 5.7  – almost 10x higher than women’s.

The real gender gap: fatal work injuries and hours worked in 2017.

Death by gender from the 2017 CFOI

See the fatality rate for the most dangerous civilian occupations per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. How many of these consist predominately of men?

99.8 – Fishers and related fishing workers.
84.3 – Logging workers.
48.6 – Aircraft pilots and flight engineers.
45.2 – Roofers.
35.0 – Refuse and recyclable material collectors.
33.4 – Structural iron and steelworkers.
26.8 – Driver/sales workers and truck drivers.
24.0 – Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers.
21.0 – First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers.
18.7 – Electrical power-line installers and repairers.
15.5 – Grounds maintenance workers.
12.9 – Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.
The average for all workers is 3.5. The rate for protective services (police and firefighters) is 7.7.

These jobs pay a premium over safe indoors work of equivalent education. Do academics’ models calculate what is an adequate premiums for the extra danger?

Also, many jobs in male-dominated jobs wear away the bodies of workers. By age 60 many of these men are worn out, unlike most workers in climate-controlled offices. Do academics’ models calculate an adequate premium for their shorter working lives and harsh working conditions?

The commonly used models consider differences between men and women in hours worked, time taken off for children, early retirement, and education. Few consider the other important factors. The widespread use of too-simplistic models – bogus but politically useful – is a widespread and growth problem. It one of today’s major sources of fake news. That is why we are misinformed about so many important issues.

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11 thoughts on “Fake news about the “wage gap”, and the real gender gap”

  1. Excellent report, Larry. Sadly, feminists will ignore it. They must. Lying about the gender wage gap and other issues is the only way they can cast women as victims and stay relevant.

    In-depth on the wage gap and other topics on gender:

    “A Comprehensive Look at Gender Equality: The Doctrinaire Institute for Women’s Policy Research” https://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/the-doctrinaire-institute-for-womens-policy-research/

  2. Larry, the data you show does not generally confirm your hypothesis. Of the top 5 categories listed, only aircraft pilots has any sort of a premium payment. Most of the other worker categories are selected for their willingness to work for LOW wages.

    The next 5 categories is somewhat better but features people who are willing to work odd shifts or under dangerous conditions for wages that are only slightly above average. Farmers and ranchers, in particular, have very low personal income for their risk factors.

    The best argument you make for your case is the protective services jobs but even they are primarily motivated by need to serve the community rather than better pay and last time I looked, most of their compensation is in the form of benefits, not direct pay.

    I don’t have any information on the topic but have you looked at median vs. average compensation? Corporate executives tend to be paid incredible amounts of money and are mostly male (although that is changing).

    1. Pluto,

      “Most of the other worker categories are selected for their willingness to work for LOW wages.”

      False. They pay high wages for their required education level, which is the primary factor the academics’ computer models use. As I said, they don’t pay what you or I would consider adequate wages for the work – but nobody cares about that.

      The key point – which I thought was too obvious to mention – was that wages in the US are set by supply and demand. If those jobs paid clerks’ wages, what most models’ would set, few would take them. There would be shortages.

      “although that is changing).”

      Understatement of the year. All seven of the major defense contractors have women CEOs.

      1. Tell me about it. The government says there are about 120k people with my job title yet schools crank out 10k new grads every year.

  3. This was in the UK, under UK tax law, but –

    On the dangerous jobs, it is more than just the wages per skill level, families can pay husband and wife different amounts for tax reasons.

    My Father was an electrician, my Mother ran the office. The work was done in a Limited company, my Mother got 30% of gross profits, my Father 70%, this was because my Father then ran the pick up and Family car as his vehicles through the company, as he used them for work, he also had a lot more deductions (site costs) and depreciation (tools/vehicles).

    They had a joint family bank account so shared it all 50:50, but paying it 70:30 reduced the tax a lot. Most family trades where the wife does the office work, probably do this it was recommended by their accountant (female) to cut taxes.

    On paper it would skew the male vs female wage gap further.

    Also my Father died ten years before my Mother due to “industrial diseases”, Doctor short hand for years of asbestos dust and small constant injuries on site. He was also quite deaf from the power tools, 20% blind in one eye from a shard of glass in a work site accident, his thumb had little movement from a table saw accident, broken jaw and 6 teeth missing from a fall on scaffolding in the wet. Work sites are now much safer, but still these non death accidents are constant, few get to 50 without some major injuries, shoulder or knee reconstructions and so on.

    Ask any wife or girl friend of an older tradesman if they begrudge the slightly higher wages they get, they would see cost to their partner or husbands body of these extra wages.

  4. Gender pay gap is calculated looking for the exact same job on the same level of experience (in the UK). You compare different job titles here, which makes no sense.
    A pay gap only arises if for example an office worker with the same amount of hours worked in the same band gets a higher hourly rate.
    This article is comparing the different kind of work male worker are willing to do, (which is often more dangerous and hard physical labour) with work more females are likely to take.
    I mean nice one, men are physically capable of hard work and they risk their lives- jobs like this must be paid accordingly. But what has this to do with gender pay gap? Different issue.

    1. Jasmin,

      “You compare different job titles here, which makes no sense.”

      Whenever you conclude that what so many people are doing “makes no sense”, it probably means that you don’t understand what’s happening. Such as here. Your mental filters prevent you from seeing what’s happening. These articles about the pay gap are propaganda. It does not matter if they “make sense” under examination by you.

      “A pay gap only arises if for example an office worker with the same amount of hours worked in the same band gets a higher hourly rate.”

      A worker finding such a situation in the US would have hit gold (assuming no legitimate criteria were used, such as seniority). Attorneys would flock to her like flies to honey. Since that is so rare, lawyers hunt for “disparate treatment” or “disparate outcomes” – finding ways to compare different jobs to show that the ones done mostly by women are underpaid, or that women are underpaid due to things women do (ie, taking time off to raise children).

      A classic is Walmat vs. Better Dukes (2000), one of the first of the countless suits against WalMart (the largest employer in the US, hence the great white whale for attorneys). She claimed that she was descriminated against – not by being paid less than others with her job title, but by being denied promotion. “Walmart argued that Dukes clashed with a female Walmart supervisor and was disciplined for admittedly returning late from lunch breaks.” It was part of a class action. The Court dismissed the class action because the claims had too little commonality.

    2. Women normally get paid more in your scenario. Look at Google for an example. Exact same work, exact same hours; women get paid more. This isn’t even going into the discussion of how much preference is given to women for those jobs, nor the hostility males encounter from kindergarten through Phd. work. You’d be better served just hopping straight into female triumphalism at this point. How women have the choice between flying the victim flag or flying the triumphalism flag is just mind boggling. Only females in our culture could ever be spoiled as to have both options.

      1. kaminsky,

        “how much preference is given to women for those jobs”

        That’s a large but seldom mentioned factor. It starts early, with a plethora of programs and money for girls-only.

        In hiring and promotion, saying “no” to a woman is risky – and requires extra documentation, in case she complains to HR. The HR or equal opportunity people don’t even pretend to be fair.

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