Inequality and the gender pay gap
Claiming that women earn less than men without explaining why is misleading and dishonest. The pay gap figure does not reflect like-for-like pay gaps, which means it doesn’t calculate the earnings of employees in the same, or at least comparable, roles. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week that influence earnings.
Several studies conducted worldwide successfully debunk the myth of the gender pay gap. Australia’s free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), for example, showed that the numerical figures used in such statistics are purely an inaccurate comparison of the median wages between men and women, completely disregarding situational factors as to whether the jobs are full time or part time.
Dr Mikaa, a Senior Fellow of the IPA, asserts that averages can be very misleading as “differences in pay should be acknowledged to reflect individual choices of balance between work and family commitments”. Not only that, statistics aren’t taking into account that some industries pay far better than others.
“There are individual forces about what industries people want to work in, for example mining, where there is a certain modicum of danger money that’s available.
Dr Novak said all the evidence shows the observed “pay gap” is due to people taking advantage of the freedom to choose that is increasingly available. To say the gap is due to some entrenched sexism is completely not the case.
The gender pay gap isn’t the sexist war against women the mass media is so desperately trying to convey. Research by the Institute of Economic Affairs has shown that the gap merely illustrates the many changes in industries (favouring brainwork rather than manual labour), demography (fewer children, longer lives) and lifestyle changes (more single people, easier divorce, cohabitation, gay liberation).
Bad data not only undermines the credibility of the cause, but it creates barriers to progress by making it impossible to measure change. Inaccurate statistics devalue women, portraying them as earning less than men, when it should be more productive to focus on their undeniable and unstoppable progress in the labour market. It’s unproductive because, for decades, young girls have been repetitively discouraged from higher paying technical jobs and careers as a result of the gender pay gap myth.
Women of today’s society in the UK are among the best educated and informed human beings to have ever existed. Let’s not manipulate statistical data to create an illusory gender pay gap, which is demeaning and divorced from reality.
Ilma Amin is an IEA intern and studied Accounting and Management at the University of Western Australia
As with all IEA publications, the views expressed are those of the authors and not those of the Institute (which has no corporate view), its managing trustees, Academic Advisory Council or senior staff