February 23, 2005


When I see the title "Women fall victim to salary penalties", I feel a need to check it out. Maybe it's the skeptic in me, could be the news junkie, perhaps the chauvinist, who knows...

Factually speaking, women earn less than men do. Much of that is due to the fact that men don't take time off to have kids, they don't tend towards part-time jobs, they tend to opt for higher-paying jobs than women and they are rarely out of work except as a result of lay-off or a job change. That isn't to say that there isn't some discrimination out there, but it's a hard thing to put a finger on and any statistics that are tossed around on this topic are going to be heavily biased due to the mitigating factors I've just listed.

But here's a bit of interesting statistical work:*
"Professional women who put careers on hold for family or other reasons earn 18 percent less once they return to the workforce"
"Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed said they have intentionally chosen a job with fewer responsibilities and lower pay in a trade off for having the time for family life."

So what they're saying is that though women earn, on average, 18% less than they did when they left the work force, roughly 40% of the women returning to the work force are choosing to take a pay cut. Is that screwing your statistics up? You better believe it is. Not to mention this nice little statistic:

"Of those who rejoined the working ranks after stepping away, just 40 percent return to full-time, professional jobs. About one in four take part-time jobs, and about one in 10 go to work for themselves, all choices often involving lower pay."

In short, less than half of the women who leave the workforce return in the same capacity, the others are taking intentional pay cuts in the short turn. But yet "women fall victim to salary penalties." To be a victim, you must be falling prey to something that his outside of your control, not making a willful decision and facing the known consequences.

I hate sensationalistic, factually-questionable news.

*Note: all quotations containted within this post are taken from the news story linked above

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at February 23, 2005 08:46 PM | TrackBack