Kay Hymowitz: Why Women Make Less Than Men
In studies from the U.S. to Sweden, pay discrimination can’t explain the disparity. Women earn less because they work fewer hours.
Well, duh! Women (in general) tend to work fewer hours than men once they start to bear and raise children, so if women work 23% fewer hours then that would exactly explain their being paid at 77% of the rate of men. Now, I got no idea if women do indeed work that many fewer hours on a weekly or annual basis (I haven’t observed that in the women I have worked with), but I suspect that on a life-time basis there might be some solid bias going on. Men just don’t have to carry a child around for 9 months to become fathers (it is _considerably_ less work that that!) and I am always amazed (bordering on shock) at the women late in their third trimester still getting about as if nothing untoward was going on. Heck, I probably carry less weight than they do and I am barely up for the activity I see so many engaged in!
Still, I strongly suspect there remains a significant bias that is leading women to have lesser wages (on average) than men. I think there is a substantial cultural element involved, but I also think women (in general) are less aggressive about maximizing income and thus are less likely to insist on top pay.