Department of Labor: Gender Wage Gap a Myth

by Welmer on March 8, 2010

Every now and then the Federal Government does a decent job of getting to the heart of the matter. Actually, this happens more frequently than one might think. I used to work with a lot of government reports, and I found a number of them to be very professional, objectively written documents. The real problem is that our politicians too often ignore them. In fact, I doubt our politicians read many at all; they probably just have adolescent staffers write little summaries or talking points for them to use in support of one piece of legislation or the other.

While reading “The Gender Silent Majority,” an article written by Gordon Finley, I came across a link to a report produced under contract for the DOL that Dr. Finley claimed debunked the gender wage gap. Sure enough, when I took a look at the report the foreword concludes that any wage gap that may exist is almost entirely explained by differences in choices that men and women make, and that if all data were taken into consideration there is probably no gap at all.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.


Research also suggests that differences not incorporated into the model due to data limitations may account for part of the remaining gap. Specifically, CONSAD’s model and much of the literature, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics Highlights of Women’s Earnings, focus on wages rather than total compensation. Research indicates that women may value non-wage benefits more than men do, and as a result prefer to take a greater portion of their compensation in the form of health insurance and other fringe benefits.


Although additional research in this area is clearly needed, this study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.

This is a valuable, up-to-date report, and I’m glad I came across it. All too often, these conclusive findings are buried under the snow of polemic, so having them available for instant reference can be of great benefit. Fortunately, government documents are open source, so this report will be available from now on at The Spearhead as a resource for all readers who would like to use it to counter spurious feminist claims of unfair compensation for their labor.

Feel free to view or download the report at your convenience.

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