Speed Reads


Do women really make '77 cents on the dollar'?

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Today is Equal Pay Day — and to commemorate the occasion, President Obama issued two executive orders.

Interestingly, however, it turns out the Obama White House also pays women less than men, leading some to wonder whether factors other than wage discrimination might account for the discrepancy.

Enter the American Enterprise Institute's Mark J. Perry and Andrew G. Biggs, whose recent Wall Street Journal op-ed digs into the Bureau of Labor Statistics report and seems to undermine the notion that anything sinister is at play here. Among their findings:

Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88 percent of male earnings.

Then there is the issue of marriage and children. The BLS reports that single women who have never married earned 96 percent of men's earnings in 2012. [Wall Street Journal]

This is not to say that these aren't important and complex issues worth discussing — but it is to say that the simplistic way this is presented is often misleading. You know the old saying: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.