Saturday, July 02, 2005

Why Men Make More Money? Because We Care

John Stossel asks, then answers, a question buring in the hearts of feminists everywhere. Why do men make more money.

Some would argue discrimination.
Many studies have found that women make about 75 cents for every dollar a man earns. Activists say the pay difference is all about sexism.
But if the gap is 25%, why not cut expenses and hire women?
Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations [you know her, she gave us the Master's protest a few years ago], gave me this simple answer: "Because they like to hire men, John. They like to hire people like themselves and they darn sure like to promote people like themselves." In other words, men so love their fellow men that they are willing to pay a premium of, say, $10,000 on what would otherwise be a $30,000-a-year job, just for the sheer pleasure of employing a man.
In a word: nonsense. Why? Because men do want the money.
Men do care about money -- and that, not wage discrimination, is why men tend to
make more of it.
"Women themselves say they're far more likely to care about flexibility," says author Warren Farrell. "Men say, I'm far more likely to care about money."
Farrell spent about 15 years going over U.S. Census statistics and research studies. His research found that the wage gap exists not because of sexism, but because more men are willing to do certain kinds of jobs. "The average full-time working male works more than a full-time working female," Farrell said.

"We have been suckered into believing that because there are more men at the top than women at the top, that this is a result of discrimination against women. That's been the misconception. It's all about trade-offs. You earn more money, you usually sacrifice something at home," Farrell said.
This doesn't even take into account the start-stop nature of working moms. How does one keep up with the labor force if you are taking one to five years (or more) off in the middle of your career to have and raise children?
But the market isn't hostile. The market is just. It rewards you for the work you do, not for the work you choose not to do. If men want the family time many women have, we must accept lower financial rewards -- and if women want the money, they have to work like money-grubbing men.
You chicks and your trade offs. Don't worry. The men will always be there to grub for the money if you won't. Don't believe me? Go the office on Monday - a national holiday, and take a gender count.

And for those few men who are actually discriminating against hard working qualified women - knock off your evil.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Jehane said...


I will say this.

I agree with 95% of your argument. Really, I do.

But there is also a perception in the workplace, based on reality I might add, that men work harder than women.

And that feeds into lower women's wages even when that may not be a factor.

Case in point: when I was at a bank early in my career, we were all up for a supervisory job. There were 3 women (all Moms) and one single guy in the running for the job. Guess who got it? The single guy. Now IMO, two of the women, myself and one other black woman, were both far more competent and more qualified. AND MORE HARD WORKING.

In all fairness, I took myself out of the running because I knew I would be leaving. The black woman didn't and she really needed the promotion. She was a single mom and NEVER missed work.

After he was promoted, he was NEVER around when he was needed. He would leave early on Fridays because he had a hot date, he was playing golf, he was schmoozing with some client, etc. And we heard through the corporate grapevine that my friend hadn't gotten the job because she had kids and was a single mom.

That's illegal, KJ. And if you looked at her record, she never missed work due to her kids. EVER. So in spite of my anti-feminist rhetoric, I do believe there is discrimination. Especially pay discimination. I'm paid quite well, but not as well as some of the men who work less hard than I do at my firm.

But on the otter heiny, I'm not a big prima donna, so I suppose I have it (not) coming to me. And I am the only one who is allowed to work at home, make her own hours, and have all the equipment she wants (others have asked and have been turned down), so I guess it's a matter of negotiating for what really matters to you in life, and for me, pay isn't all that.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Not to quible with your quibling, but read my last sentence again.

I never denied that discrimination existed. The issue is to what degree does it account for the so-called wage gap.

And I didn't even address the fact that men often work the most dangerous jobs, which typically have a wage premium associated with the risk.

Oh, and believe me, if there were a just Blogger salary, you would outearn my by truckloads. But you don't see either one of us giving up our day jobs, do you.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Pile OnĀ® said...

I can only offer anecdotal evidence but it is my experience that members of both sexes can be screw offs, but among those that are serious about their careers women work harder. Often times much harder, I think because they think they have to, to overcome any perceived bias, real or otherwise.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

It's hard to speak to this in just a few lines of comment. I think there isn't much pure discrimination; I have observed that the people in charge look for certain types that will be easy to work with (read: a) a lot like me; or b) works hard enough to make me look good and/or cover for me). Often, they're more comfortable relating to people who are alike in gender and life experience.

When they cross these lines is when the real discrimination begins, IMO. The tough jobs (low, static pay scale and menial work) were filled with the kind of people who fit some "diversity" niche, while proving to be "needy" for some reason, therefore the employer would be doing them a favor by not firing them. So raises were never discussed, and a lot of crap behavior was accepted (usually absenteeism or petty behaviors to certain other staffers).

Cynical, but that seemed to sum up the who's who: guys at the top who acted like Captain Kirk at the helm, or a woman or two who make Katie Couric look like an underachiever; similar Katies-in-training at the mid-level, with a mixture of young 'n hungry guys who lied about their degrees and usually got the good work, the better pay, and first crack at promotions if a man was in charge or left if a woman was; and an assortment of people of various ages, genders and inclinations who would soldier on at the bottom for at least 3 - 5 years before becoming so useless that they were fired, if they hadn't simply stopped coming to work by then (every now and then a smart person would take a job like this to get a foot in the door, then leave for a better job because management never intended to let them move up).

Not as academic as Stossel - I think we look for the linear in life when things tend to move sideways, if that makes sense - but that's what I lived with at countless companies over the years and may be why the stats look the way they do. It's why teaching was my opt-out plan.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

Sorry; let me add, re:

Men do care about money -- and that, not wage discrimination, is why men tend to
make more of it.
"Women themselves say they're far more likely to care about flexibility," says author Warren Farrell. "Men say, I'm far more likely to care about money."

The people who were willing to press the issue and value themselves highly, and deliver the goods, made the money. The people who didn't want to negotiate lost out. Those who thought they were bartering flexibility for value failed to realize that their worth was their worth, and they would probably have to fight for it. My experience is that guys are more likely to fight for any and all, and less likely to be refused when they have a shot. But I still think this skews the issue of discrimination in these cases. You won't get what you don't ask for.

Consequently, I was the highest paid person at my company - one that prized sales and always rewarded sales first - for a year or two before I quit. I was probably a year or two within striking distance of a six-figure salary simply because I knew how and when to ask. And this was in a well-established old-boys network, which I loathed. Money isn't everything.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Jehane said...

I think things have changed somewhat too, Tee bee. I can remember working in the 80's for a district manager who told me (several times) that I was the best and brightest manager he had working for him. But he wouldn't give me either of the two stores I wanted because I was a woman. I'd been promoted twice in under two months and was sh*t-hot, but I couldn't get the plum assignment.

They were lumber centers and none of the contractors would work with a woman. It was that simple - it was 1980. And I can still remember what it was like to have a man tell me he wasn't about to take orders from a woman too. I can't imagine that happening now, and even though I was only 21 then, I sort of laughed and pointed at the door and told him to start walking. The guy was twice my size - what a jerk.

In the end, we got along OK - I agreed not to order him around in public and he agreed that he worked for me and he'd best not be insubordinate. It was a non-compromise on my part because I never ask anyone to do anything without saying "please" anyway, but he was too dumb to know that :) But I felt for him - he was an ex-Chief Petty officer - it can't have been easy for him working for me.

And I agree about women not asking for pay - I've observed the same thing.

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Lonely Man said...

I saw on HBO that women stars make much more money in the porn industry than the men do.

I wonder if the feminists ignored those wage numbers.

Yes, I watch a lot of TV at home, alone, late at night.

At 4:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have to say that I agree 100% with what you said. this is correct... women earning less makes up for the injustice part of murder that women do.. read the sexist bullshit blog located at
Sexist Bullshit Detector

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Jehane said...

Hey anonymous ... look at it this way - I've always maintained that if it weren't for murders committed by women, there would be no defense known as 'justifiable homicide'.

You guys so *totally* owe us :D

At 10:20 AM, Blogger KJ said...

Now do you see why I don't do criminal work?

Besides, the Man doesn't need such crazy defenses.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger tee bee said...

Cass - I worked for a few guys who were jerks and looked at women funny in the 80's, and even a woman who looked at women like we were all headed out on the marriage and baby train ASAP. She didn't bother to train me, then gave me a review holding me accountable for stuff I didn't know. It was a wash anyway, because she left soon after for corporate.

One guy pretty much let me have my head because he didn't know how to talk to me, which was fun for a while, then he put me in a satellite office where I sat and did nothing for eight hours a day. When layoff time came, I was first to go. Another guy figured he could manipulate the women in the office into working harder for less than the one guy - who was sick all the time but got the single promotion that happened while I was there - while playing us all off against each other (guy vs girl, smart girl vs stupid girl). It worked on the weaker staffers, and the good ones got out quick. Then again, two of my favorite bosses were men who cared as much about my work and my career (or choice not to career) as I did.

How to label that discrimination is my question. Obviously, women got the crap end of the stick all too often, but very infrequently for the overt reason that they were women. When similar tactics worked on the guys, those tactics were employed. So I attribute the appearance of sexism to what seems observable: greed, narcissism/nepotism/egotism and overall poor management - things that are much harder to educate out than sexism. Sexism is irrational and most people either recognize it as such, or are simply unable to be rational in the first place.


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