Carrie Lukas

Pay Day

Posted on May 19, 2006 | Author: Carrie Lukas
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Each year feminist groups organize an "Equal Pay Day," a day to lament the disparity between men's and women's wages. There's one problem with Equal Pay Day'"the premise.

Evidence shows women's choices, not discrimination, cause wage gap. Warren Farrell, former board member of the National Organization for Women's New York chapter, identifies 25 decisions that individuals make when choosing jobs in his book, Why Men Earn More. Women, he finds, are much more likely to make decisions that increase their quality of life, but decrease their pay. 

When factors such as occupation, years of experience, age, and education are considered, the wage gap shrinks and Dr. Farrell even finds several occupations in which women actually earn more on average than men.

Before embracing the victim myth, women should consider how their choices have affected their careers. Women care about financial compensation. But they also consider the number of hours in the office, whether the work is personally fulfilling, and the convenience of the workplace.

Men place a higher priority on pay than women when assessing a job. Should we assume men have the right priorities? Instead of urging women to behave like men, feminists ought to celebrate the choices that women make, including the choice to forgo income in favor of more time with family or work that is personally rewarding.

Carrie Lukas is author of the just released book, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism." She is the director of policy at the Independent Women's Forum, and a Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow. A longer version of this article appeared on

Key Links: "The feminist complaint festival"
-Warren Farrell: "Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap'"and What Women Can Do About It"
- National Review Online: "In the Crosshairs"

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