By Jacob T., 6th grade, Krieger Schechter Day School of Chizuk Amuno
Just walking into a theater or watching television, it is common to hear remarks related to one hot topic or another.
Phrases like: “Seventy cents to the dollar” are commonly heard. This saying refers to the gender pay gap — the idea that men make more money than women for doing the same job.
In a world that shares its ideas about almost everything, it is important to keep people accurately informed. And while it is true that men earn more than women, it is not because of a sexist America.
Some people believe men earn more than women because of gender prejudice. People who support this idea are referring to some inaccurate studies. There are many studies about the pay gap, and they are generally conducted in the same way.
One study by the National Partnership for Women & Families notes, “White, non-Hispanic women are typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.”
This is very misleading. In the evidence section of this study is a document that says, “Nationally, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $41,977, while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $52,146. This means that overall, women in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,169.” (The number wavers in different references to around 80 cents to the dollar).
This statistic is determined by comparing full-time men’s annual earnings and full-time women’s annual earnings, and the study is using these numbers to unfairly conclude that “this persistent, pervasive wage gap is driven in part by gender and racial discrimination.”
Comparing men’s yearly earnings to women’s yearly earnings shows that men, on average, work more and in different jobs than women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men work 8.4 hours a day, while women work 7.9 hours a day, accounting for some of the differential.
Georgetown University conducted a study on the five best paying college majors. The first was petroleum engineering (87 percent male); the second, pharmaceutical sciences (48 percent male); then mathematics and computer sciences (67 percent male); aerospace engineering (88 percent male); and finally, chemical engineering (72 percent male).
All of these jobs, with the exception of pharmaceutical sciences, are mainly held by males.
Now, all of this isn’t intended to insult anyone. And maybe less work by men would be beneficial and bring down the suicide rate, which is 3.54 times higher for men than women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
But it does become clear why men are making more than women. It is because they are majoring in and working in more lucrative fields.
All of these statistics are compiled to show that the study doesn’t honestly prove that there is a gender pay gap. I’ll admit, when searching to find these statistics, I thought that I seemed sexist or bigoted.
However, these are all facts, and stating facts shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. It is also not for the purpose of coming to a conclusion, rather to rebuke an already-held belief.
Another more applicable way to think about the pay gap is by using a hypothetical example. McDonald’s is ultimately trying to find the cheapest labor it can and is not going to pay more if not required to do so. If an American businessman, who is running multiple McDonald’s restaurants could get away with paying his female employees less than his male employees, why wouldn’t his entire workforce be women?
However, this isn’t the case, and women do not make up 100 percent of the McDonald’s workforce.
Hopefully, now the idea of a pay gap has some accurate statistics and logic behind it. People including Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (who says, “Women for the same work, for the equal work, make 80 cents on the dollar … and this has got to end”) to the female bass guitarist from the Broadway musical “School of Rock”(who shouted “70 cents on the dollar” at some point in the show to cheers and clapping) believe this misconception.
It is time to keep the rest of our issues here in America logical and well-reasoned. Fighting for equality in terms of the gender pay gap is coming from a good place, but spreading ill-reasoned and inaccurate information, does more harm than good.