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All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech 427

Posted by timothy
from the cash-on-the-table-or-not? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Synthia Tan writes that when you investigate the actual data, controlling for non-gender factors (like number of hours worked) the gender pay gap seems to disappear. 'A longitudinal study of female engineers in the 1980s showed a wage penalty of essentially zero.' In some cases women make more than men: women who work between 30 and 39 hours a week make 111% of what their male counterparts make." The researchers were studying more recent data, too; what are things like on this front where you work?
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All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech

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  • I am not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dptalia (804960) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @09:52AM (#46395693) Homepage Journal
    I've been discriminated against because of both my gender and my religion, but I have NEVER been paid less than my male colleagues. I may not have had the opportunities to grow given to me, but I've always made good money. In my current job I'm one of the highest paid people on my contract. My personal experience is that there's no pay gap - do your job and get paid accordingly,.
  • Misogyny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @09:55AM (#46395709)

    Even if this is true, it will be labelled misogyny and never be accepted by rabid feminists.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:11AM (#46395809)

    I may get accused of being a sexist and all for saying this, but it's been my experience that a feminist vision of "equality" is very different from my definition. "Equality" in their mind is getting all the perks of being a woman (men fawning over you and buying you free food and drinks, sexual power, the taboo on physically attacking you, etc.) while simultaneously also getting all the perks of being a man (higher breadwinner pay, political power, etc.)--and all without having to suffer ANY of the downsides of either gender.

    In short, they want it ALL, they want it NOW, and they want it all for FREE.

  • Controlling for... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:18AM (#46395863)

    I was under the impression that one of the issue was that women are less likely to get offered exciting projects, overtime, etc. etc. so they wind up stuck in relatively junior positions doing limited hours.

  • Re:Misogyny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:19AM (#46395869)

    Facts can be very annoying to people with strong convictions. Generally, they solve this by denying them and questioning the inetegrity of the messengers.

    They could also solve it by attacking the methodology. Is it really fair to correct for "hours worked" rather than "work done"? So the guys get paid more, but it is okay because they stick around till 9pm playing Minecraft and reading Slashdot.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:21AM (#46395885)

    There's quite a lot of dispute that there was ever a gender based wage gap. Reading Dorothy Dix from the 20s and 30s, she seemed to think that men and women were compensated equivalently at that time, and earlier. Which if you think about it makes sense, if a company could hire one gender for less, why wouldn't they hire that gender exclusively?

    Given that, why is the POTUS parroting these myths? Is he planning to mandate higher wages for women and quotas when employers are unwilling to hire these more expensive employees or what?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:22AM (#46395889)

    Why on Earth would anyone accuse you of being a sexist merely on the basis of your making sweeping generalizations about what you think an entire gender group means by "equality", based on your limited experience with a few members of that group? Ridiculous. Bloody feminazis demanding that individuals be treated as individuals. Don't they realize how much easier it is just to relax with a bunch of inaccurate preconceptions?

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:23AM (#46395899)

    Yes, you will indeed be accused of being sexist, because you are one.

    From the moment when you think of "women" or even "feminists" as a single minded entity, with a single definition for a concept, you reveal that you indeed possess the common flaw of oversimplifying the world in at least one of the many possible ways.

    There's no such thing as "what women think", just as there is not such a thing as "what human beings think".

  • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:26AM (#46395921)

    In short, they want it ALL, they want it NOW, and they want it all for FREE.

    You're new to this planet. See, there's this thing called human nature . . .

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:27AM (#46395927)

    Why would employers be hiring so many overpriced men?

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:27AM (#46395937) Journal
    Not gonna say you're sexist, just that you hang out with bad women. What you've just described is the typical gal who hangs out in a bar waiting for Prince Charming to come along and pay her way through life. My sister was one such woman, and I viewed her as a negative role model. If a woman is hanging out in a bar trying to meet guys, it's because she's a boring person and doesn't have anything else better to do with her life. Women with actual hobbies and interests have no trouble finding men (which is why they're taken), and they tend to be nicer people overall.
  • by cryptizard (2629853) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:31AM (#46395967) Homepage
    Kids are only a bigger obligation for women because society expects them to do the majority of care and household work, even when they have full time jobs. If that weren't true, then you would see dads having the same problem and working less hours.
  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:38AM (#46396023)

    When my wife voiced concerns about hitting the house with the truck, the guy actually said to her "So you're worried about your house because you're a woman?" Yet, when I expressed those same concerns a bit later, they treated me like an actual homeowner concerned about his house.

    1. That hardly makes any sense, but okay.

    2. Your wife and you have an extremely low bar for sexual discrimination.

    So by your rather sensitive standards, every time I hear "You're not a woman - you couldn't understand", or "Men are pigs", then would that not be discrimination? Or about some feminine hygiene product being superior because it was invented by a female doctor? All of that is just more ways of saying "men are inferior".

    We see this sort of thing all the time, but have been conditioned to the idea that only men are ever sexist.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:40AM (#46396049)

    I may get accused of being a sexist and all for saying this, but it's been my experience that a feminist vision of "equality" is very different from my definition. "Equality" in their mind is getting all the perks of being a woman (men fawning over you and buying you free food and drinks, sexual power, the taboo on physically attacking you, etc.) while simultaneously also getting all the perks of being a man (higher breadwinner pay, political power, etc.)--and all without having to suffer ANY of the downsides of either gender.

    In short, they want it ALL, they want it NOW, and they want it all for FREE.

    well, speaking as a man, i also want to get paid as much money as i can, be fawned over, and get free food all while not being physically attacked.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @10:57AM (#46396239)

    making sweeping generalizations

    So out of curiosity, how many women have you dated who wanted to go dutch on dates? Didn't expect you to buy them flowers or jewelry? Didn't want you to open doors for them? Didn't expect you to protect them in a fight?

    Be honest now, Mr. Inaccurate Preconceptions. Show us evil sexists that we're soooo wrong, with all your stories of the women you've known who *really* wanted to be treated equally.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:02AM (#46396289)

    Where the hell are you working/hanging out where it's ok for *men* to be physically attacked?

    Are you seriously going to pretend that punching a woman in anger is no more taboo in modern Western society than punching another man? Seriously?

  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:04AM (#46396301)

    I know a lot of women who have self-identified as feminists for years, and not a single one of them fits the description you have. All the feminists I know are hard-working professional women, hard-working homemakers, or both. That includes some of my peers and managers in the tech field, by the way. Maybe you've just been spending time with some unusually selfish women -- it's possible; there are jerks of both genders out there. I suggest finding a different peer group, because your current one seems to have made you a little bitter.

    Also: there's no "taboo" against people physically attacking a woman, or a man for that matter. It's just plain wrong.

    (And yes, for making derogatory caps-lock- and scare-quote-heavy generalizations about a group of people so which you don't belong, you can expect to be labelled as biased. That seems pretty fair to me.)

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@gma i l .com> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:08AM (#46396349) Homepage Journal

    So out of curiosity, how many women have you dated who wanted to go dutch on dates? Didn't expect you to buy them flowers or jewelry? Didn't want you to open doors for them? Didn't expect you to protect them in a fight?

    Not the person you're replying to, but I felt I should step in here...

    My wife always paid her fair share when we dated. I honestly felt a little uncomfortable about it at first, but she insisted.

    She loves it when I buy her flowers and jewellery, but she'll buy me stuff I like too; so that seems even to me.

    I'll hold doors open for her, and she is happy that I do. But she'll hold doors open for me too, and I'm happy that she does.

    She most certainly would expect me to defend her in a fight; but equally, I'd expect her to defend me in one. (neither of us is particularly physically inclined, but we're also not really the types to get in to fights; so thus far it hasn't been a situation that has arisen)

    Basically my point is that just because a woman expects some things from the guy, it doesn't mean she's asking for unequal treatment... she may be willing to do all those same things too.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:27AM (#46396527) Homepage Journal

    Where the hell are you working/hanging out where it's ok for *men* to be physically attacked?

    Are you seriously going to pretend that punching a woman in anger is no more taboo in modern Western society than punching another man? Seriously?

    Maybe not, but in our culture it is typically portrayed as perfectly acceptable for a woman to slap a man, or physically attack him in other ways (throwing drinks, etc.). There are really good, legitimate reasons for this double-standard, based on average strength / power differences, so I'm not necessarily against this. It is never considered acceptable for a man that feels insulted to respond with a physical attack, so to be fair it should not be considered acceptable for a woman to do so, either.

  • by freak0fnature (1838248) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:31AM (#46396561)
    My ex wanted me to be prince charming, yet claimed I was too insensitive when she started talking to me with disrespect or accusing me of being incompetent or not smart enough to "properly" shingle a roof. She expected me to help out or do most of the "traditional female chores", and do all the "man chores", while we both worked full time and had a child. Not to mention she expected me to be happy in a relationship where she didn't put out, and spent far more than we could afford. She was a well educated, intelligent, good looking, had hobbies and interests, modern woman. We are both 130+ IQs, she had 2 bachelors and I had 1 (though I make 2x what she made). She left looking for something better and has spent the past 5 years saying how there are no good men out there. Even had the balls to say that to my parents. All of her friends are the same way. They take their children with them and expect as much money as they can squeeze out of their ex's. That is the modern view of "equality". Meanwhile I remarried the most opposite person I could find...someone who enjoys taking on traditional female rolls, enjoys being a wife, enjoys taking care of a man, is not lazy in the least bit (though is also educated, has a bachelors in biochem and speaks 3 languages fluently). The budget is balanced even with my ex getting child support and my wife isn't working. I know this relationship will last, because she is not a feminist.
  • by boristdog (133725) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:32AM (#46396577)

    Women will get men to do stupid things for them as long as there are men willing to do stupid things for them.

    Men will get women to do stupid things for them as long as there are women who will do stupid things for them.

    It's almost as if people will take advantage of other people if they allow them to do so.

  • by cyborg_zx (893396) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:43AM (#46396657)

    The fundamental principle of feminism is that woman are morally equal to men. Logically the entire female gender consists of either people who believe themselves morally inferior to men, or are feminists.

    I don't think I've ever seen feminism described in that way. The second statement does not form a valid dichotomy - even if I accepted your definition there is clearly absolutely no reason women could not see themselves as morally superior to men therefore invalidating this statement.

    Meanwhile the fundamental principle of sexism (and racism, ageism, etc.) is that you are taking some empirical data (generally gathered informally) and extrapolating it to the entire gender (/race/age) group.

    No. A -ism simply is a discrimination on the principle property in question. It may or may not be justified by anything - i.e. validity is irrelevent other than if you care about those things. A valid statement that is sexist is still valid even if one wishes to classify it as morally problematic.

    An example of this would be mischaracterizing feminism per se, a basic principle agreed on by - for the sake of argument - all women, as an extreme viewpoint held by a small but vocal minority.

    In other words: No True Scotsman has sugar in his porridge. I can only go by what people say. For a group of people who better characterise what you sum up feminists as Humanists would be a good choice.

    OP expected to be called a sexist for making a fundamentally sexist remark, and I did so.

    It's a fundamentally feminist-ist remark - not based on sex. By your definition above he is applying not to the entire set of women but the entire set of women who are feminists. These sets are not equal.

    The real question here is why are you arguing with me, for calling him on his sexism, and not him, for being blatantly and admittedly and unapologetically sexist?

    Because even if he is sexist, because even if sexism is a priori a moral evil, a clear reading of his statement is directed towards a feminist perspective, not a female one, regardless of whether or not you accept it as a valid one or a strawman.

    But that's a question only you can answer ...

    And with ease.

    Read more carefully.

    a feminist vision of "equality"

    Important qualifier there.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:46AM (#46396689)
    More accurately, there are men and women who will take advantage of others, but that does not mean 'men' or 'women' do. There will always be jerks, but jerks do not define the whole.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @11:46AM (#46396695) Homepage

    > The fundamental principle of feminism is that woman are morally equal to men.

    The problem with this is that it's like prattling on about the fundamental principles of the Republican or Democratic parties. What these people say they believe and how they actually act are two entirely different things.

    Ragging on feminists is not "sexism". It's strictly an ideological remark. It's not about gender. It's about a particular political faction with a certain name.

    What you are trying to do is elevate feminists above criticism by smearing anyone that tries to criticize. It's kind of exactly the sort of thing the OP was complaining about.

  • by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @12:01PM (#46396879)
    It's not just feminist who are this way, but all special interest groups. Everybody claims they want equal treatment, but in reality what they want is preferential treatment. And the ones who get screwed over are those who belong to the formerly dominate class, but never leveraged this dominance for themselves, who now find themselves at a disadvantage because of the "equalization" that has taken place. As a straight white male in the United States, I can't compete equally with my minority peers, I have to be better than them. Otherwise, with all other quantifiable characteristics being equal, they will get the jobs & services I want.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @12:06PM (#46396943) Journal
    Those are interesting hypotheses, but as you mention, the evidence in the article directly contradicts your first point. It would be interesting if you found a study or something better than your friends to support that point.

    And let's be honest, who hasn't had lousy bosses and annoying coworkers? Those are reasons to find another company, not to change careers.
  • by GoCrazy (1608235) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @12:13PM (#46397029)
    If we're going to go off anecdotal evidence, most of the women I've met who no longer do engineering have done so for personal (raising a family), career (joined politics) or academic (pursued PhD in Physics instead) reasons. You leave a job because of coworkers. You leave a career due to personal choice.

    As for the rest of your post, I refer you to the last line of the article:

    this perception is just one more factor discouraging women from entering the tech space.

  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @12:24PM (#46397131)

    "I haven't even heard of a study that says there is a significant wage gap for at least a decade. When accounting for career, hours worked, experience, etc. the worst I have heard is a 3% wage gap."

    Hours worked is where I've seen the numbers most distorted. Most studies I've seen talking about pay gap don't account for hours and are based on the premise that most women in opposite sex relationships still opt to take on the role of picking up kids from school and such instead of their partner and so do less hours, but as this is omitted from the study the claim is made that they're paid less. Certainly in the UK few studies seem to take in hours worked, most just take the sex, the profession, and the annual salary and do nothing more than that.

    So the issue of disparity in most cases is that in most couples it's still the female that is taking on the role of housewife but this is entirely a choice between couples and not a workplace problem in the slightest beyond the fact that this also impacts womens career progression because statistically you're more likely to know the company better the more hours you spend there, and hence be a more suitable candidate for promotion, hence why women are less likely to be promoted - because they're also more likely to be less committed to work and more committed to home.

    The fact is some feminists want women to be able to take the housewife option, do less hours, AND still get paid as much as their male colleagues working longer hours and it's this that distorts the argument and makes the whole discussion nonsensical most of the time.

    I don't pretend sexism doesn't exist and isn't a problem, I've certainly witnessed women suffer sexism in the workplace and have called it out when I've seen it, though I've also witnessed women abuse their sexual attractiveness to gain promotion with stupid sexually desperate male bosses too so I'm not overly convinced those two things don't balance out and I believe both need to be eliminated as far as possible.

    The real key issue is getting a better balance between males and females that act as home makers vs. breadwinners if we want to see things balance out. Heeding calls for quotas based on statistically fraudulent studies that omit things that make it like for like such as hours worked though simply build resentment and have the opposite effect of making members of each sex view each other equally in the workplace.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:41PM (#46399025) Homepage

    The ex you describe is not the feminist model of a woman by a long shot. One bitch doesn't mean all self proclaimed feminists are like that, just like one asshole doesn't mean all men are misogynists. Don't let your hatred of your ex lead to prejudice against other women.

    FWIW your new wife sounds more like a model of a modern feminist. She got an education but decided she enjoys what she is doing now so does it, with a guy she seems to genuinely like. When feminism started female education was not taken seriously and women were often expected to marry people they were not particularly fond of, and then become a domestic slave even if they had other desires in life. That doesn't mean a woman can't choose not to work, the point is simply that it is a choice.

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