Is the wage gap real? Yes. But it might not be what you think it is.
"What remains is the 'residual' or 'unexplained' portion
— the part that researchers cannot find any logical explanation for after
considering everything else."What about this for an
explanation...Women are paid less than men because, on average, men
have more time on the job than women. And why is that? Because women take time
off work to have children. Many women choose to stay home to raise their
families and don't go to work until their families are raised. This
accounts for the fact that, in Utah, the pay gap is the largest in the nation
because Utah families are larger than most, if not all other states.The bottom line is... much of pay increase is based on time on the job. For
example, if you go to work for the federal government you may start at a General
Schedule (GS) 5 step 1. After a year on the job you will be entitled to an
increase to GS 5 step 2, then, another year to GS 5 step 3, etc. These steps
are pay increases. If a female stays home to give birth and goes to work after
the male has been on the job for three years, she will be paid less even though
the job for her and the male are identical.
This is such a well-written article. However, many of these comments are
irritating when people misunderstand or misrepresent the data. Women are paying
a price choosing jobs with job flexibility, and instead of asking for more
flexibility in more jobs (which is economically possible, as mentioned in the
article), people are content to just say it’s fine? If men are more
willing to counter-offer, is it really fine to chalk that up to increased
aggression rather than teaching women how to make counter-offers? Let’s
also think about how women choose jobs— do gendered toys and same gender
role models in certain careers teach girls which jobs they are
‘supposed’ to like? Rather than excusing the wage gap, we ought to
analyze and address these underlying factors. I was raised in Orem, and
insinuating that women are happy at home so it’s fine if they are paid
less is idiotic. I want to be happy, successful, and equal at work, church, and
home. Let’s make sure our partnerships are made of real partners and move
more utah women working part time is not sufficient to explain the dead last
ranking in gender income disparity. The NYT published the results of a study
this year 2017 which had BYU-provo graduates who were male making a median
salary of $72k, vs. women at only $800 annual. That's a >8800% gender
For 30 years now women obtain more college degrees than men, and during the
recession, men's jobs (construction, etc) were cut more than lady jobs.
Before 1970, schools probably favored men and boys, now it is the reverse.
Further proof that more schooling doesn't translate into more pay.
This is an excellent, balanced article that examines the whole picture in much
greater depth than most, and I appreciate the excellent reporting. It is vital to understand the many facets that account for the income gap
between men and women, and as a father of daughters, I am very interested in
closing the "unaccounted for" portion of the gap, and in understanding
better some of the factors that account for the explainable parts of the gap.
More transparency in understanding the situation is good.One thing I
don't believe was addressed in the article was something I think I've
read in a past article (or it's possible that I might be completely making
this up) but there may be, on average, a difference in the way that women and
men manage their own careers. In my experience, I have never received a raise or
promotion because someone else was looking out for me--it has always been
because I have proactively gone after it. What I seem to remember reading before
is that women typically don't "go after" raises and promotions as
agressively as men do. If there's truth to that, that's good news
because it's something women can proactively do to better their situation.
Outstanding job, Sara. Thank you for utterly eviscerating one of the left's
key talking points in its effort to drive a wedge between men and women. It
should come as no surprise that evil identity politics is often based on
deception and statistical lies.What leftist sacred cow will you
tackle next? I hesitate to make suggestions out of fear of censorship, but there
are plenty to choose from.
Nothing in life is fair.Quit nursing hurt feelings, and we'll
all be happier.
Some of these comments are hard to bear. I am the primary earner for my family
and my husband cares for our four children. Do you know what 5% means to our
family? Let's say a man in my same role with similar experience makes 100k
and I make 95k; that's 5k every year my family doesn't see. Let's
talk about what we could do with 5k - music lessons for our kids, memory-making
family trips, paying off student loans, helping extended family members in need,
and the list goes on. Yes, these are nice to have and not needs - but why should
my family get less because I am a woman? And no, Kevin, it's not for lack
of counter-offering and negotiating on my part. But even in that, women are
penalized for being "pushy" and "aggressive" in ways that men
are not. Unless you have walked in a woman's shoes and felt the
sting of sexism - especially when it spills over and harms those you love - you
would be wise to listen and pay attention to excellent articles like this one.
Regarding that last 5% difference, a few have already mentioned that women are
less likely to negotiate than is a man. This accounts for some of the
difference. I think that MOST of the remaining difference comes
from women wanting to work fewer hours. Other studies have shown that men work
10% more hours. When they start having kids, they work more to pay for the kid.
Women work less to spend time with a kid. Even women doctors have fewer and
fewer office hours than male doctors. Men are more likely to burn the midnight
oil to get a project done as well. When a company needs to promote someone, are
they going to promote the person who works overtime and nights and weekends or
the person who leaves work early to go to a kid's dance recital? If a
woman has a husband with a high paying career, the family is more likely to move
if he gets transferred making her quit her new promotion. This is another
reason a company may be less willing to promote a woman. Another
reason for the gap is that men's testosterone often makes them more
aggressive in sales. They'll work harder to beat out another guy in the
office just for bragging rights.
Two points:@SAS.Valid point on women who are mother really never
being able to be on vacation. But, are you also saying that men who take
vacation and actually spend time with their children and families also not
really taking vacation? Are children and families now such a burden and chore
to the average American?Second point. I suppose the statisticians
who compiled this data already accurately took into account the more dangerous
nature of many of the jobs that are predominantly done by men. But, just to
emphasize, in the United States, 93% of workplace fatalities are men, and, of
course, 7% are women. With the current state of much the mainstream media, if
these statistics were reversed, I don't doubt that some would call it the
biggest national crisis (and perhaps scandal) of the past 100 years.Finally, to echo many other readers, this is one of the very best articles I
have seen on this topic for years.
I appreciated your thorough, dispassionate article on an important topic. Keep
up the good work!
There is actually a nursing shortage here in Utah...No one has yet
explained why Utah is on the bottom. All these factors are in all the rest of
the states, but Utah is still on the bottom? Why?
This is a really good article.One thing it fails to address is that
women are less likely to push back on their first offer. I've hired dozens
of women and dozens of men for high-tech jobs, and I can say a few things with
certainty:1. I've never offered a woman less than I would offer
a man for the same job, same qualifications, etc. I've never once said
"hey, my first choice candidate is a woman - I'm going to offer her
less."2. With that said, women I've hired are much more likely to
accept the first offer than men. Men are much more likely to make a
counteroffer.I'm not sure if that's men are more
aggressive or if women are more afraid that the offer will be pulled, but this
is likely the contributor to that unexplained portion of the gender wage gap.
There is one very important point of logic missing from this discussion,
economics and the law of supply and demand. Where there is a big supply of
eligible employees the price goes down. Does anyone besides me think there is
connection to the gender pay gap in female dominated careers? Maybe it has
little to do with the fact that they are female dominated? And the follow on
question; why don't women choose more STEM careers where there is a bigger
Why confuse the ultimate issue of the wage gap that this article appears to want
to explore as if it is some important myth in part? It exists period! The rest
of the article is great and expands on more of the root problems of the wage gap
and suggests from pernicious issues that need to be addressed. Let's focus
on what the wage gap implies in terms of how it reflects how it personally and
cultural burdens women in particular, What's really needed is a follow up
article that describes specific steps to reduce the wage gap whatever the
apparent myth it appears to portrait. There is still a hurtful situation that
impacts women, perhaps yes to there is too much evidence regarding the wage gap
because now it's turning itself into an intellectual debate and argument
about details that don't need to be won or lost. It's time to do
So Utah women choose to stay at home and help raise children? That's a
valid choice, and a valuable asset to society.We might confirm both
its validity and its value if we PAID THEM for the work they do, every day, with
It's long been established that most of the 79 cent thing is because of
differences in jobs (which is why, despite being liberal, I really don't
like the use of that stat since people figure out what it means and then assume
the problem doesn't exist at all). However, there remains some
portion of a gap and there is still some smaller portion that is wage
discrimination (if you think about it, if the overall wage gap, accounting for
other things was 2%, and 10% of women were discriminated against then those 10%
of women would be paid 20% less than men since 20% of 10% is 2%). A tiny overall
percentage would still be a big deal to those subject to it.And then
there's the other issues like the societal push for some jobs to be
"men's" jobs and others to be "women's" jobs.
Doctors/nurses. Professors/elementary teachers. Many STEM careers are quite
I, too, appreciate the breadth and the depth of this article. Sarah
Israelsen-Hartley has done us all a great favor in showing how complex this
issue is and how deeply entrenched and normalized gender-based discrimination is
not just in society, but in our own individual sense of how things should work.
This article makes me ask questions like this: Why don't we
have "workers compensation" for mothers injured on the job? Mothers, working outside the home or not, are a huge source of production and
service in our economy. We need the workers we pay to work. But mothers, or
"mothering" by caregivers of both genders, do work that must be done,
too; work that has obvious, consequential results in the lives and well being of
our most vulnerable fellow citizens if it's not done.Caregivers
at home are workers. They "produce" people trained in life skills
(moral behavior, social skills, problem solvers, etc.) that are crucial to their
well being and to mine. I depend on people to make and do things I can't.
In depending on workers, I also depend on the work parents have done to enable
them to do this work for me. Why shouldn't I pay a little something for
We will gladly accept this label. Everyone that lives in Utah knows that we
value strong families. In order to have those strong families we are probably
going to have one parent at home raising the kids. Many of the women here are
more than happy with that. Why should we be fighting and clawing at this? If
it brings them happiness and provides for stronger families shouldn't we be
praising that? I laugh when the women are told they shouldn't be happy.
I've lived in several states and nobody does it better than
Utah. Great families, great schools, strong kids. We are the standard every
state should be striving for, not the other way around.Seems like
every time the media is fighting for something, it is against what is best for
the family.Thanks Utah! Keep doing it right!
This is one of the best articles I have read, with detail uncommon on this
subject. We seldom see this depth of evenhanded reporting. It would be very
encouraging to see national distribution of this well researched article. I
encourage Deseret News readers to share the link.
while the Republican looks at equality of opportunityOf course you
do. There's been such strong Republican support for all civil rights
@P Bundy - You didn't actually read the article did you? I mean if you had
you would have realized that the article says, "Yes, there is a pay gap, and
its around 5-8%". The 20% figure is nonsense and was *never* an apple to
I am grateful for the article and all others that show discrimination of any
sort (including reverse discrimination). Discrimination to anyone is
discrimination and should be addressed as such. One thing however I
don't think these studies quantify is how much of the pay differential is
based on a perceived flexible lifestyle that is so much more important to women
with LDS values. There has got to be an association with this and the fact that
40% of Utah women work part time, the highest in the nation. Can this not
contribute not only to the bottom take home pay figure but also the per dollar
rate difference? I think there is a difference in basic values and when this is
true the mighty dollar is less important to many people who want a real family
What's the most popular four year college major for female students in
Utah?How many female graduates in Utah were able to find jobs in this
field?Are they making the same amount as men?Answer these questions
first before writing an article about Utah's gender wage gap.
This appears to be an apologist approach to the issue. Might be better on
Did Hillary Clinton discriminate against women? Did Barack Obama discriminate
against women? Well, they paid significantly lower salaries to women on their
staffs, but they did not discriminate. The fact is that when you
adjust for field, education and experience, the gap virtually disappears, as
both Clinton and Obama were very quick to explain. So when you want to fire up
the base, you talk average pay gap. When you want to defend yourself against
accusations of discrimination, you quickly become an economist and make the
necessary adjustments. Google The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap
Freakenomics for Harvard Labor Economist Claudia Goldin's explanation.
Bottom line: there is a pay gap on average but there is little, if any, evidence
Very comprehensive article, goes into the issues underlying of the "tip of
the iceberg" indicator (the gender wage gap among year round full time
workers). Shows that our choices are shaped by the societal context and
policies. Kudos to Sarah Israelsen-Hartley!
It is great to read an article that reaches beyond journalism sound bites and
engages a topic at sufficient depth to uncover some of the complexities of the
issue. The issues brought up in the article ring true to me. I work
in physics, a well paying field where women are underrepresented nationally and
locally. Both science and society could be greatly benefitted by the
capabilities and perspectives of more women in our field. However, inflexibility
in institutional work time (or a significant part time penalty) in both business
and academia are a reality that women in science usually face. This
inflexibility is sometimes exacerbated by federal mandates but government nudges
have often been effective at increasing participation.Thank you for
this in depth article on an issue with particular local and LDS flavor and
I knew that when I became a school teacher, I would never make as much money as
I could have in another profession. I could have easily gotten a higher paying
job, as school was always easy for me, but it was not the way I felt I should
go. I loved my job and miss it very much.
Income equality can sound like a good thing. But historically it has been
Socialist, totalitarian governments that have advanced the idea of income
equality.Free societies, as a result of freedom, have income
inequality. Let's stop the talk that income inequality is such a bad thing.
I would rather live in a society that has many levels of income while
maintaining freedom than the horror of living in a nation that does not have
freedom but might have more equality (but that equality is grounded in poverty).
Come on. Let's resist Communism here.
One of the worst working situations I have ever faced was in Utah. The women,
doing the same exact job were all paid less and they accepted it because the men
all had families. The lack of gender equality screams in Utah. On any given day,
people often work 12-14 hours to bill 8. I have spoken with several other people
who faced the same workplace abuses, and yes, big companies. The state is in
dire need of humanity and could use some Union support. However, the workers and
public are brainwashed and accepting of what could be abusive tactics by their
employers. I know that many will hate this message, but they probably have never
worked or lived outside of Utah.
Men are more aggressive in wage negotiations. Let's not ignore that also.
"Currently the state ranks 50th out of 50 states and the District of
Columbia with women being paid roughly 68 cents for every dollar paid to a
man,"The gender gap isn't some "liberal" fantasy -
it exists because far too many people are caught in the past believing that men
are the bread winners and a woman's only place is in the home. Those days
are past, long, long past. Time for Utah to come into the 21st century.
If the so-called "gender gap" were really due to bigotry,
discrimination, and sexism, then it seems that sooner or later some entrepreneur
would catch onto an inherent savings in wages by hiring only women, and do so,
and clean up!In fact, the debate points out a huge difference
between the proverbial "pointy-headed liberal Democrat" and the
"pro-business 'conservative' Republican"...the Democrat looks
at equality of result, regardless of cause, while the Republican looks at
equality of opportunity. The former assumes that men and women, save for
obvious anatomy, are 'identical', without regard to individual
abilities and characteristics, while the latter looks specifically at the
individual and what (s)he can do. Which, do you think, is more in line with
American values and promotes freedom and prosperity?
For me, this quote from the article seems to address one of the bigger issues in
the pay discrepancy between men and women."The gender gap in
hourly compensation would vanish if firms did not have a financial incentive to
pay employees working 80 hours a week more than twice what they would receive
for 40-hour weeks . . ."When evaluating the income differences
between men and women, this is the type of data that is what is often left out
by those claiming a 20% pay difference.
One of the best articles published in the Deseret News this year on an issue
that never seems to go away.Is the wage discrepancy real? Yes, but
it's a lot smaller than what's constantly blasted out by the media and
liberals and progressives.Should women always be paid the same as
men? Absolutely, if you're doing the same job as the man next to you and
have similar experience and training there can be no justification for paying
This is one of the best articles on the gender pay gap that I've seen.
One of the few mainstream media articles that examines the causes of the pay gap
rather than just screaming "sexism!"
So, in claiming some jobs should pay more are we finally admitting that the pay
gap is due to differences in career choices rather than discrimination?Nursing is very important. No,less important than doctors. But the fact is,
nursing requires 2 or 4 years of college (LPN or RN) while an MD requires 8
years of college.Teaching grade school is crucial. But a lot more
people are able and willing to get a teaching degree than are able and willing
to get engineering degrees. Turns out pedagogy is easier to understand than
indefinite integrals and Maxwell.Supply and demand is not
discrimination.It also turns out that we pay a premium for
dangerous, dirty, or physically demanding work. I don't see near as many
women picking up garbage, working high voltage power lines, or spending their
lives in coal mines as I do men? Gender discrimination? Or legit, individual
choices made by women themselves?Gender gaps in the amount of
overtime worked, or travel supported also affect pay.Can we stop the
narrative that all differences in outcome must be due to bigotry or
It is nice to see an article that peels back the onion on this liberal headline
grabber that is used by the Democrats and their media allies on a daily basis to
bash anyone who is seen as a supporter of business in this country (i.e.