Field of Science

There is no pay gap between men and women

Over on Greg Laden's blog is a post about the gap in salaries between men and women. The video ends with the words "Paying women 24% less is insulting." I then hoped to start a discussion about the causes for that gap, wondering whether it was biologically influenced or not. Greg is a biologist, and so am I, and this discussion fits right in.

I assumed that when such a figure is quoted it would be comparing men and women in the same jobs. Like CEOs or something. Not in positions where salary is not individually negotiable, like for nurses. If there was a difference in how much male and female nurses were paid, then I would be shocked and offended.

Then I now find this article from a year ago, The truth About the Pay Gap, in which a journalist a the Chicago Tribune exposes that there really is no significant pay gap at all:
June O'Neill, an economist at Baruch College and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, has uncovered something that debunks the discrimination thesis. Take out the effects of marriage and child-rearing, and the difference between the genders suddenly vanishes. "For men and women who never marry and never have children, there is no earnings gap," she said in an interview.
Incidentally, it was not possible to have a serious discussion about the causes on Greg's blog, because four women preferred to launch ad hominem attacks on me, ending with JanieBelle:
Yeah, there's a biological component. The biological component is that men have the power and women get less money. And when someone mentions that this isn't exactly fair, some fucktard like Bjorn comes along and makes up shitty excuses that women are supposed to shut up and accept.
What I wrote in reply was the first time I have used explicitly bad language on the web. I'm not sure it will happen again. Not sure it won't.


  1. For a counter argument (without profanities!), see:

  2. Tom, thanks for the link. Will read...

    Here's what Greg Laden wrote in response to the discussion: The natural basis for gender inequality

  3. Is June O'Neill just saying that? It might be more convincing if it were something more than a quote from an interview, in an opinion piece.

    Really, there's nothing more in that piece then what has been said many many times before. I don't understand why you would think it significant.

  4. I suppose I don't know whether June O'Niell is just saying that / making it up. I would expect that she based her comment on an analysis she has done, but I could of course be wrong about that.

    I thought it was interesting because it was the first time I had seen anyone say that there really was no earnings gap between men and women (for the particular subset).

    Tom Rees above posted a link to a counter-argument to this assertion. In that opinion piece Dey and Hill challenges O'Neill's claim that there is no gap. Both parties claim to have data supporting their analysis.

    My understanding before this whole discussion was that there was a pay gap, and I posted the quote with O'Neill because it challenged that.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS