Look At The Facts: Gender Wage Gap

Politics, Posts

The constant back and forth of inaccurate information between biased new sources gets a bit tiresome and I’m sure most people can agree. As a political science major myself, I love to study, look at statistics and inform myself on what’s really going on before I can make a decision on a topic.

Today is the first of many posts on the series I’m going to call “Look At The Facts,” where I’ll will look at statistics from both sides of the spectrum, analyze its validity and compare it to real, factual, unbiased information.

In honor of Equal Pay Day I wanted to make my very first post about the gender wage gap.

Starting with a conservative news sources, lets take a look at what Fox News has to say on the issue.

It was truly a bit of a struggle to come across a post about the current gender gap on the news site, as the most current article on the topic dates to about a year ago. The last informational article written on the topic of the gender wage gap was about the new version of the classic Monopoly game, Ms. Monopoly. The author of the article, Paul Batura, discusses how the new rules to the game, which rewards female players a higher amount at the beginning of the game than their male opponents as “patronizing.” Bautra claims that the gender wage gap is “propaganda” and that a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research proves this. Although not provided by Batura, after some digging I was able to locate the article he mentioned in this writing. The study shows how when looking at the statistics of women with children, women have less “peak work hours” which allocates to 6.6% of the gender wage gap. This data could be misleading as it does not take into account the vast amount of women who do not have children and are in the work force.

In a Washington Examiner article written on March 31st of last year, Equal Pay Day, Karin Lips argues that statistics that the organization uses to advocate for their cause is misleading. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that women who were full-time wage and salary workers in 2018 had median weekly earnings that were 81% of what men earned who were full-time wage and salary workers. Lips argues that this is a biased statistic due to the fact that it compared men and women of all job types and doesn’t focus on a specific field of work. Lips has continued her series as an advocate to end the gender wage gap narrative and has written another article this year. In her most recent piece, Lips mentions the same argument as the prior year which highlights the idea that the statistics the Census Bureau provided is not accurate because it is a generalization. However, by quickly scanning the Census’s statistics page mentioned, one could miss the infographic provided at the bottom of the page that shares median earnings categorized by sex and occupation.

From this graphic, it can be seen that in every category shown, women are shown to make less than men.Looking at the data as a whole or separated by occupation still gave the overall same facts. The argument Lips provided in her article is contradictory to the statistics she herself used to prove her point.

Finding an article on the issue of wage gap was not as difficult to come across on CNN than its competitors, Fox and Washington Examiner. The most recent article was written on March 25th which touches on the issue with World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe. In an effort to bring awareness to the inequalities in today’s society Rapinoe gives a testimony to Congress. Mentions of receiving less than the men’s soccer team despite greater success were included in her statement, along with the vast difference in treatments between the woman’s and men’s basketball teams during the NCAA Tournament.

A Forbes article written early last year touches on the topic of the wage issue in regards to the U.S Women’s Soccer Team. In 2019, the team filed a pay discrimination suit and it was later dismissed by the court. It was found that the women’s team payments added up to approximately $24 million and averaged $220,747 per game, where payments to the men’s team totaled approximately $18 million and averaged $212,639 per game. Countering this information, the women argued that if they were to operate under the same contract the men’s team did, they would be making even more money. This argument was then shut down by the judge due to the fact that not only did all the women choose to sign their contract but also highlighted how the men’s contract was higher risk, this is due to the various guarantees they signed in case of injury, minimum pay and games played. This is in compared to the men’s contract which is operated under a “pay to play” system where play time is not guaranteed and players must play in the game to be paid. When putting both contracts into perspective, the women did not hold a solid case for pay discrimination.

In the CNN article, there was also further data provided beyond sex and occupation. Data is given that describes how the gender gap not only effects women as a whole, but how it impacts women of color even more than their white co-workers. The Census statistic shared states that in 2019, the female-to-male earnings ratio was .823, which was the same from the year prior. That pay gap increases when examining compensation along racial lines: Hispanic women earned 58.7% of White non-Hispanic men and Black women earned 63.6% of White non-Hispanic men, according to 2020 data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Looking at the issue beyond sex and occupation adds depth to the argument that equal pay is an issue in America.

One of the noticeable differences between the news sources on the issue of the gender wage gap is that the conservative news sources don’t utilize their statistics to their entirety. It was very difficult to find an informational article on the sites, most were editorial pieces. When looked at from a surface level, the data provided in Bautra and Lips’ articles seem legitimate, which is the danger of biased news sources. Looking at the left-leaning news sources, it is evident that there is a further use of pathos to argue their point. Breaking down the information of articles before making a final decision or taking a side of an argument is essential to making the right decision.

So what do you think? Is the gender wage gap argument legitimate?