More Wage Gap 'Myths' by Mrs Vera West
Here’s another gender wage gap article: “Widening Wage Gap Blamed on Bias.” (The Australian, October 28, 2016, p. 5) The article says that “Gender discrimination is increasingly contributing to the pay gap between men and women and remains the biggest reason for the difference in their wages.”
The research for this is a report by KPMG Australia, which found that the proportion of the pay gap due to gender discrimination rose from 35 percent in 2007 to 38 percent in 2014. So, are employers breaking any law by paying women less for the same work? No!
Part of the gap (30 percent) is due to the higher representation of men in dirty and potentially dangerous industries such as mining and construction. The article doesn’t say it, but the evidence is that women generally don’t want to do these jobs. Such jobs have higher pay, naturally enough, than “female-dominated industries and occupations.” Yes, there is no problem with “female-dominated industries and occupations,” but male dominated ones – well, watch out!
The article also says that “systemic discrimination remained a persistent feature of the workforce,” but had fallen as women “closed the gap in education and labour participation.” So if the difference is one based upon education and skills there is no justification at all for the claim of “systemic discrimination.”
Women also have “career disruptions” to have children, responsible for 21 percent of the gap. Again, unless women stop having children (including migrant women), such a gap is just part of the human condition.
None of this, in my opinion, justifies the claims that women’s work is undervalued or that gender discrimination exists. Only if one wants to start using the circular logic that all differences equal discrimination would one reach that conclusion.
I always have an ironic chuckle when this wage gap argument is advanced by powerful feminists such as Julia Gillard. I wonder what the homeless men on our streets think about that one?