Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘gender wage gap

The “77 cents on the dollar” fraud

with 26 comments

One of the most common propaganda tricks from feminists is the claim that women only earn x cents/öre/pence/whatnot for every dollar/krona/pound/whatnot a man earns—in a US context, 77 cents is the most common number. (See also my article on the infamous Anna Ardin for a related example.) This highly misleading claim is either given alone, without context, or made into a direct lie by adding claims about equal pay for equal work. The hitch is that the measurement used compares apples and oranges—it shows unequal pay for unequal work: Women already have equal pay for equal work. (In many advanced countries, including Sweden, the US, and Germany. Indeed, I have heard some claim that women earn more than men in Sweden.)

If we were to alter things so that women, by this twisted measurement, earned a dollar on the dollar, then men would be severely discriminated against. The claim for equal pay amounts to “All employees are equal, but some are more equal than others.” and wanting to eat the cake and keep it too.

The 77 cents arise from a misleading comparison, ignoring factors like hours worked per week, educational level, area of work (including factors such as physical dangers and qualifications needed), and time with the company.

For two very good articles on the subject, see Do Women and Men Earn Equal Pay in 2007?e and 77 cents on the dollar? The truth about the gender wage gape.

A particular interesting partial explanation is simply prioritisations and risk-taking when choosing jobs and negotiating salaries: Men have a higher unemployment than women (incidentally, something which does not bring the feminists to the barricades…) and it is quite possible that men are simply more prone to pick unemployment over a low-paid job, to go through temporary unemployment while looking for the right position with the right company for the right pay, or to make a negotiating gambit for a higher pay (with the risk of not getting the position). Any individual woman could chose to take the same risk for the same chance at the same gain, and those who do not have to live with their choice—just like the men who make the gamble and lose…

For that matter, making a comparison of pay without factoring in involuntary unemployment is inherently misleading.

“But discrimination is real! I have seen it myself!”

That may be. However, individual cases mean comparatively little for numbers like these and, while individual cases need correction, they are not a support for claims of a systematic problem of this alleged size. Further, many cases that are called discrimination are, in fact, not: Different people, be they men or women, earn differently based on a number of factors, including education, experience, dedication to the employer, self-presentation skills, etc., and any one individual woman earning less than any one individual man (or vice versa) is not an indication of discrimination—no matter what propagandists may want us believe. Further yet, unfair pay is nowhere near being the reserve of women, and it is quite possible that even an objectively unfair pay to a woman is not discrimination: A man in the same position in the same company, likely the one in the cubicle next to hers, stands a high risk of being equally unfairly paid.

For a good example of how not to do it, see e.g. the blog entry which prompted this article to be writtene. (If visiting it, also note the flawed reasoning and ad hominem take by the blog author in the comments, and beware that she kept my first two comments unpublished—including my pointing out that the “women are not worthless” slogan is a straw-man attack: The implicit claim that even a sizable part of the population would consider women worthless is grossly incorrect.)


I note that she has subsequently deleted all comments and also “closed” the comments. Unethical and cowardly, if you ask me.


Written by michaeleriksson

September 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm