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Capitalism & Women: The Truth About The Wage Gap

Caitlin Grimes
|
October 17, 2016
wage gap, capitalism

In addressing the oppression of capitalism on women, we cannot ignore the recent discussions on the gender wage gap.

The common statistic used to describe this suggests that women make 78.3 percent as much as men do when it comes to income.

The fact that so many opponents suggest that this is the fault of capitalism proves their lack of knowledge of the economy theory.

Economist Thomas Sowell makes this very clear in his book Economic Facts and Fallacies. He points out that:

“If employers pay a woman only three-quarters as much as they would pay a man for doing the same work with the same skill, this means that those employers who hire an all-female workforce can get four workers for what other employers are paying for three.”

Simply put, an employer who discriminates based on gender is going to pay a price for doing so.

The reality is that the disparity in male and female income is the product of any number of variables other than gender, and these can best be grouped into the category of personal choice.

Women often choose different fields than men, such as education, which offer different pay scales from large corporations.

In addition to occupational differences, other variables include the continuity of employment, the regularity of work schedules, and part-time versus full-time jobs.

These are generally all affected by the choices women make regarding children. Women disproportionately choose to take time off work to care for young children, which means sacrificing valuable work experience or the opportunity of “climbing the ladder.”

When they return to work, many women still choose jobs on the merit of a flexible schedule that allows them to attend to domestic responsibilities.

It is true that fathers could also make these choices, and some men do. However, the general trend is for women to prefer to sacrifice work for family.

If we are going to argue that women have the “right to choose,” it is difficult to argue that they don’t have the right to make these particular choices, even if they affect aggregate income statistics.

Studies that factor in these variables show that women actually don’t earn less than men in similar situations.

In fact, as Sowell points out, women often often make more than men. When comparing never-married women to never-married men who are past child-bearing years, women average higher incomes.

This trend goes back at least as far as 1969, before employer discrimination laws were even on the books.

Related:
Capitalism & Women: Carving the Path to Women’s Liberation
Capitalism & Women: How Government Intervention Hurts Women
Capitalism & Women: Innovation Brings an End to the Old System of Labor

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