For all that the gender pay gap is apparently one of the sins of our time, something that must, just must, be dealt with, it appears that most people just don’t give a toss:
The vast majority of workers do not know what the gender pay gap actually is and women expect to be paid less than men, according to new data that highlights the challenge of achieving equality in the workplace.
Around 82pc of people were unable to define the gender pay gap as the difference between average male and female pay at a firm, website TotalJobs found.
They don’t know what it is and most women actively conspire to create it as well.
This making a certain sense when considering the differences between men and women. Of course, as ever, when talking about a population, this does not mean that all women are this, all men that. Rather, that even quite subtle differences move the averages – mean of median – across large groups of such.
For example, we can observe that more women in politics increases the amount of social spending there is. This is actually lauded in one recent paper, more wimmins handling the pursebook the more spent centrally upon childcare. We might then ascribe this to there being a greater female desire for societally produced security at the cost of higher taxation rates.
OK, and given the way that childcare works in humans we could understand why that would be so too.
But exactly the same impulses and preferences would lead to changes in the way that work was regarded. Or, perhaps, what the rewards from work should be. Cash ain’t it for women – or less so than it is for men. Security might be a greater motivation. Or flexibility, or shorter hours, or a lesser commute or – all of which have been observed in this or that paper.
Add in Adam Smith’s point about how the compensation for different jobs is the same, balancing conditions and cash and so on, we can then see how wages will differ. Different groups of people among the population prefer different combinations of cash and conditions adding up to the same compensation.
Note that it’s not necessary for all of that gender pay gap to be explained by this, nor for us to claim that it is. It’s only necessary for us to claim that some of it is – and that’s obvious, some of it is indeed explained this way. That being so we need to know how much is.
Which is the sort of calculation that’s been done by people like Christina Hoff Summers. After we take all of these expressed and revealed preferences into account the gender pay gap is down at mere percentage points of real income for people doing the same jobs. At which point we can say it’s solved, now let’s go off and do something else, shall we?