One of the myths promulgated tirelessly by agenda-driven special interest groups is the gender pay gap. You’ve probably heard this in one form or another: women earn 77c on the dollar as compared with men…But is this really the case? As often with complex questions, the answer is yes and no. Before attempting to answer it however, let us look back in time.
Historically, women have stayed at home while men tilled the fields, ran the government, the professions, and fought wars, little things like that. There have always been many exceptions though. Throughout history a man may have had the “privilege” of laboring from dawn till dusk or dying for his country, but he also had the obligation to support his family. There have always been high earning women, and women in positions of power, but until the early 20th Century the vast majority of those were from the privileged classes. Elizabeth I for example was multilingual and one of the best educated women of her day. Her namesake Elizabeth II was likewise born into privilege, but at 88 the Queen of England has a workload that beggars belief, and is living proof that privilege is often over-rated.
From the end of the 19th Century up until the present day, rising living standards, near universal literacy, and most importantly birth control, have helped elevate most women from a hand to mouth existence to positions of power and relative wealth they could only have dreamed of in bygone eras. Things we all take for granted nowadays such as good nutrition, foreign holidays, meaningful leisure time and hot water on tap were once the privilege of the very few, while the technology at our fingertips was unimaginable even to the kings of yore.
Where women worked outside the home in the 19th Century it was often as domestic servants, which involved long hours and unbearable drudgery. Two things that did as much if not more than anything else to lead women out of the home into the once overwhelmingly male workplace were the First World War and modern technology. The horror that was the Great War saw men marching off to maim and kill each other, which left a vacuum at home, so women became drivers, manual laborers and even engineers.
Digging holes in the road and such requires “man strength” which few women either possess or desire to, but mechanical diggers took the backache out of this kind of work. Women also moved big time into the caring professions, where before they were nurses, now increasingly they became doctors, even surgeons.
Women dominate some professions; in the UK for example, there are currently around 12 women teachers for every man. Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by a similar margin. How do salaries compare? Well, male nurses are said to be paid marginally more than women. Let’s take just one example from this field; the salary of an ultrasound technician compares favorably with virtually any post that requires comparable training. Again, this is an overwhelmingly female profession for many reasons, one being that patients – both men and women – generally feel more comfortable taking off their clothes for women.
Outside of the caring professions, teaching, PR, publishing and marketing, there are relatively few big women earners, and almost all the really big earners are men; this includes banking, industrialists, and even sports. Of late, in the UK much attention has been focused on the sky high, some would say scandalous, earnings of professional footballers. This year, one top player, Wayne Rooney, signed a contract for the unbelievable salary of £300,000 per week. There are women footballers as well, but if football fans – men as well as women – would rather watch 22 men in shorts running up and down chasing a ball, then that is where the big money will go.
When one factors the really big earners into the equation, and after allowing for the lifestyle choices men and women make, the gender pay gap all but disappears. One more thing should be taken into consideration; a married couple especially one with children, cannot really be considered as a man and a woman for earnings purposes, because generally they will pool their incomes. The gender pay gap in the modern world is truly a myth, but that won’t deter the usual suspects from parroting the same nonsense incessantly as they have been doing for as long as anyone can remember.