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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]

Still Bogus after all these Years
A statistical agenda...
[Sally C. Pipes] 5/25/04

A woman earns 76 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and Latina women earn 52.5 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. Women from all racial and ethnic backgrounds earned 67.5 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Asian American women, though the best paid, earn 25 percent less than men. This all means that women are still victims of gender and race discrimination and they will not achieve pay parity for more than 50 years. And so on.

Those are some of the results of Women's Economic Status in the States: Wide Disparities by Race, Ethnicity and Region, a study from the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington. The report, released with representatives Nancy Pelosi, Carolyn Maloney, and Senator Lisa Murkowski in attendance, did not get much press. Nor should it.

It's a re-run of the same fallacies women have been hearing for decades. Indeed, one can hear the sound of a barrel being scraped.

The 76-cent figure is meaningless because women's earnings reflect lifestyle choices that are different than those of men. High-salaried, intelligent women are choosing to spend time at home with their families. And that time at home is, of course, reflected in earnings.

A study on salary differences between men and women should focus not on census data, as with this report. It should examine pay levels for the same job and with the same number of continuous years in the workforce. When that information is analyzed, as this column has often pointed out, there is very little difference between men and women. But facts count for little with proponents of this study.

"Fairness demands that we stop punishing Americans for being born female or being born into minority groups," said Representative Maloney. In this case, the "we" clearly means somebody else.

Women's Economic Status assumes that there is some Central Command of male job assigners dishing out the good jobs only to white males and assigning others to the lower ranks based on gender and race. This view discounts personal differences, effort, and choice. Those are seldom equal between any two individuals.

That is why, in a free society, statistical disparities are the rule, not the exception. The ideology behind this study assumes that in every area of life, especially the workplace, women and minorities must be represented according to their percentage in the population. Such proportionality is not found in the Constitution but such realities count for little with those who see discrimination everywhere.

By their reckoning, there should be no disparities. If there are any, it can only be because of discrimination. Inevitably, the remedy is government action.

True to form, the recommendations of this study lean heavily on Big Brother and call for affirmative action, a euphemism for quotas. The study also calls for tacking cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage. That will not help poor women. Neither will encouraging women to think of themselves as victims.

"Being born Hispanic or African American, and being born female, make you less likely to earn a high salary than if you are born white and male," said Amy Caiazza, author of the report. This implies that women are prisoners of their gender and race. As this column has often pointed out, that is not the case.

Successful women, however, still must endure the endless repetition of feminist fallacies, dished up as fact.

The Gannett News Service story on Women's Economic Status, for example, was little more than a glorified press release. But it is encouraging that some editors ran the story at the back of the business section, below the fold.

The study confirms that for some, the endless search for victimhood and the call for more government will always trump facts and reality. CRO

copyright 2004 Pacific Research Institute




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