One the important issues at the heart of feminism is equal pay for equal work. When women first entered the workforce, their pay was much less than men's. However the 60s-70s was bringing wage parity closer and closer. The past two decades have seen reversals and stagnation of this battle in various sectors of employment.
I think this would be a good place to tally up the varying statistics on this problem, both historically and in current events.
I'll start with a February 4 report in Reuters:
Newly trained female doctors in the United States make nearly $17,000 less than their male counterparts, even though women increasingly are choosing careers in higher-paying medical specialties, U.S. researchers said on Thursday
They said there has been a widening gender gap in starting salaries for female doctors, rising from a difference of $3,600 in 1999 to $16,819 in 2008.
even when we account for specialty and hours and other factors, we see this growing unexplained gap in starting salary. The same gap exists for women in primary care as it does in specialty fields
The study is based on survey data from more than 8,000 doctors exiting training programs in New York, a state that is home to more residency programs and resident physicians than any other in the [USA].[...]
According to the website Womens Media, the gender salary gap is a mixed bag of positives and negatives. I've only pasted here some highlights, click the link for entire report.
This last graph is particularly problematic to interpret because it confounds all economic and sociological factors.
Is the Wage Gap Closing?
The U.S. Census Bureau has made available statistics on women’s and men’s earnings for several decades. By examining this time series of data, it is possible to get a feel for the changes and trends in earnings. One thing revealed by a simple visual examination of the series since 1960 is how closely the shapes of the two lines parallel each other. The dips and bumps in women’s and men’s earnings seem to move in tandem. Clearly, similar economic and social forces are at work in influencing the rise and fall of earnings for both sexes. Men’s earnings do not stand still and wait for women’s to catch up.
Another thing that is apparent from the graph is that there is some minor fluctuation in the size of the wage gap. For example, the gap widened in the 1960s, closed a little in the 1980s, and widened slightly in the late 1990s. Thus, depending on which chunk of years one examines, it may be possible to conclude that the gap is either widening or narrowing. The only way to get a clear picture of what is happening is to examine the whole series rather than a few years at a time.
The series of data points from 1960 onward provides a basis for a forecast of the future, although such forecasts are always estimates rather than hard certainties. When we used forecasting analyses to project the earnings of women and men into the future, to the year 2010, we found no evidence on which we could base a prediction for a closing (or widening) wage gap. The forecast was, in essence, for the two lines to remain parallel, although the 90% confidence intervals (the range within which we are 90% certain the actual future earnings will fall) do overlap a little.
A Question of Value
The page's author goes into the 'value' of home/family/care-taking. Personally I don't feel this topic honestly belongs in the salary-gap debate. Because whether or not a society chooses to increase the financial value of parenting, needs to be a function of a society's population objectives, as demonstrated by who we elect for office.
It stands to reason that if the government wants to increase procreation, we need to increase the financial value of stay at home parenting, true. But what if the nation's policy is NOT population growth (China 1-child policy and India's objective of zero growth by 2045)? Should not policies in such countries favour childless women fully integrated into the workforce?
This topic easily warrants an entirely new discussion...
I object to the idea that 'homemaking' is limited to the quantity of childrearing. I personally work at home in my career so I also choose to do all the 'homemaking' in my relationship since I'm home more even though we are childless by choice. Most children are in school for the majority of their childhood so most of homemaking involves cleaning, cooking, laundry, dishes, and errands for a partner who might not be able to do these things. I am virtually my partner's assistant so why does that not deserve a minimum wage and value in our society? We have made working possible for men because they did not have to do the housekeeping- stores aren't even open when my partner gets home from work so he wouldn't even be able to buy groceries if not for me. (I have my own career too and I don't feel oppressed by my partner but not treating homemaking as a valid profession could be very harmful to women who don't have good partners) Just because women have been trapped behind private life does not mean it doesn't have the same value as public life and the whole gender debate in my opinion IS access to public life and the devaluation of private life.
To be a good mother is not to spit out children from your vagina in quantity based on the population needs of society. It can also be judged by quality. Being a good mother effects each and every part of our society. Quality of parenting extends to how full our prisons are, how well we can compete in high end sectors such as math and science and how much health care we might need based on how healthy a homemaker's meals are. Homemaking also extends to the care of elderly parents which will increase with a population decrease- so homemaking is always in demand if you don't confuse it with surrogacy which is not homemaking but a different topic all together. Homemaking exists because males at one time needed to be free to do all the work in public life if he had been held to the standard of having to also take care of his private life he would not be able to work the hours that were expected of him- it's a division of labor. Everything starts at home and until we fully respect this nothing will change for women.
I basically agree. I'm childless by choice and unmarried by choice with the same partner for 16 years and hate all the benefits breeders seem to get in capitalism. You need to consider though if there wasn't sexism in marriage in the first place the whole role of 'earning' half your husband salary by working as a wife wouldn't exist without pay- in other words it was illegal for most of human history to earn a wage as a woman. I'm just saying if we started society from scratch maybe there would be a benefit for all to have paid 'wives' of any gender just like we pay school teachers- maybe they would adopt children, maybe they would help people in high stress jobs so they don't screw up and kill people. Maybe it would be mandated that people actually have to go to school for child rearing and nutrition.
Like wolf society where there are alphas and then the beta wolves raise the children and protect the den, a separation based on skill instead of gender and the removal of traditional marriage ideas. Maybe some women would give birth but let special 'wives' raise the children- we could do anything. I know I'd love to have a wife and an assistant wouldn't even come close. I think one of the main problems is we only hold the woman accountable for the procreation- if a couple is unmarried generally (in America) the man's insurance doesn't cover the pregnancy even if he intended to procreate and even though his sperm caused half of the medical situation in the first place. We still think women are magically having virgin births like Mary, like it's just her problem and not a joint decision.
I know there is an actual pay gap problem, but I hate when just dollars get reported without percentages. For instance, the doctor gap going from 3,600 to 17,000...what is that in percent? I'm sure it is worse due to the small time change, but it probably isn't as bad as it looks.
In 1999, average salaries for new doctors were $151,600 for women and $173,400 for men -- a 12.5 percent difference. In 2008, the averages were $174,000 for women and $209,300 for men -- a nearly 17 percent difference, the investigators found.
So, a change of 4.5%. Maybe I'm just a numbers geek, but that seems more meaningful to me.
Wow, thank you for enlightening me. It's really wonderful to see you use one study questioning one sector, in one university, which is obviously letting the statistics be confounded, to debunk the ENTIRETY of a 'so called gender gap myth'??????? Forgive me while I laugh. Did you maybe not notice the the wide ranging statistics presented previously clearly demonstrate variation between sectors? Did you not notice in the medical article that they purposely focused on the initial salaries, so as to exclude future/longterm reproductive impacts? I find it most interesting to use child bearing as contributing factor to wage gap when the fertility rate is dropping.
You are obviously NOT in this group to conversate positively with feminists.
That's not entirely true, you know. Men can have them, too.
And did you really just say what I think you said about critical thinking? :-D I don't think you'll find many atheists who agree with that statement.