We all have heard a lot about the inequalities faced by women all across the globe and also about the gender wage gap existing in the society.  A report suggests that women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. Another report from India suggests that the gross salary of a male IT worker is Rs 359.25 per hour while a female receives Rs 254.04 per hour.

But is this all true? Are we looking at the entire picture here?

Let me break the news to you. Gender wage gap is just a myth. That doesn’t mean these statistics are wrong. The main disparity lies in the fact that we tend to overlook the minute details. These number definitely gives an impression that a man earns more than a woman for doing the same exact work for the same exact time. That’s not the case though.

While it states that a man earns more than a woman per hour, it does not state that men tend to work for a more number of hours than women. The Department of Labor’s Time Use Survey, for example, finds that the average full-time working man spends 8.14 hours a day on the job, compared to 7.75 hours for the full-time working woman. And that’s simple mathematics right? People who work more tend to get a better pay. There is no possible inequality about this fact.

Also, The number of working hours make sense if you are working in the same industry. But we have a deal breaker here as well. Men and women have different priorities, different ambitions, and eventually different job opportunities. Women tend to seek jobs with regular hours, comfortable working conditions, very little travel, and greater personal fulfillment. Men, on the other hand, take jobs that have rarely to do with job conditions or travel restrictions. Men are highly likely to be a handed over a job with uneven working hours and hence a higher pay.

What if they are working in the same industry?

Goldin and Lawrence Katz have done a very close comparison of men’s and women’s wages as it exists today.  They tracked male and female MBAs graduating from the University of Chicago from 1990 to 2006. First they controlled for previous job experience, GPA, chosen profession, business-school course and job title. Right out of school, they found only a tiny differential in salary between men and women, because women are worse at negotiating starting salaries. And that’s a fact as well. Men tend to negotiate their salaries about 2.5 times more than women and hence the starting difference comes up.  But 10 to 15 years later, the gap widens to 40 percent, almost all of which is due to career interruptions and fewer hours. The gap is even wider for women business school graduates who marry very high earners.

The gap widens up after they have a kid, but that’s more than obvious!

After a woman gives birth to her child, there are some biological implications as well. Few months before delivery and even more after that, women are unable to focus on their careers which widens that gap as well. And there are no strings attached to inequality for this. There are biological reasons for why a mother is the most important parent for a kid and why the child needs utmost care at that time. That being said, the motive of any company is profit. They still manage to give women extra leverage in these times with full support. However, when men work full hours for the company, they are rewarded as well.

We are not talking in favor of inequality, rather we are talking some straight facts which are  misinterpreted by many. Women deserve equal treatment to men and we are getting closer to it with each passing day, but spreading myths aren’t going to do any favor.


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