Every year the National Committee on Pay Equity publicizes its bogus feminist holiday known as Equal Pay Day to bring public attention to a completely spurious, apples-to-oranges comparison of incomes by gender.
According to the NCPE, Equal Pay Day will fall on Tuesday, April 4 this year, based on a 20 percent unadjusted difference in median annual earnings for women and men in 2015 (most recent data available). That data point controls for absolutely nothing relevant that would explain income differences like hours worked, marital status, number of children, education, occupation and the number of years of continuous uninterrupted job experience.
Therefore, Equal Pay Day on April 4 this year misleadingly represents how far into 2017 a typical woman will allegedly have to continue working to earn the same income that her male counterpart earned last year for doing the exact same job.
That's not only illegal, it's completely out-of-touch with reality. How many organizations have today a dual pay scale with a different wage for the same position based on gender? Probably none.
Inspired by Equal Pay Day, I introduced Equal Occupational Fatality Day in 2010 to bring public attention to the huge gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States. Equal Occupational Fatality Day tells us how many years into the future women will be able to continue working before they will experience the same number of occupational fatalities that occurred for men during the previous year.
Based on the most recent data on workplace fatalities by gender from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015 (and assuming that 2016 data will be comparable) the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day can be calculated. As in previous years, the chart above shows the significant gender disparity in workplace fatalities in 2015: 4,492 men died on the job (92.9 percent of the total) compared to only 344 women (7.1 percent of the total). The most recent "gender occupational fatality gap" was again considerable — more than 13 American men died on the job for every woman who died while working.
Accounting for those significant differences in fatalities by gender, the next Equal Occupational Fatality Day won't occur until almost 12 years from now – on January 21, 2029. That date symbolizes how far into the future American women will be able to continue working before they experience the same loss of life that men experienced in 2016 from work-related deaths. Because women tend to work in safer occupations than men on average, they have the advantage of being able to work for more than a decade longer than men before they experience the same number of male occupational fatalities in a single year.
Groups like the NCPE use Equal Pay Day to promote a goal of perfect gender pay equity, probably not realizing that they are simultaneously advocating an increase in the number of women working in higher-paying, but higher-risk occupations like roofing, logging, commercial fishing, construction, farming, and coal mining.
The reality is that a reduction in the gender pay gap would come at a huge cost: several thousand more women will be killed each year working in dangerous occupations.
Further, the proponents of Equal Pay Day are promoting a statistical falsehood by suggesting that women working side-by-side with men in the same occupation for the same company are making 20 percent less than their male counterparts, which causes them to have to work an additional 64 days (and almost 14 weeks) to achieve "equal pay." The NCPE's statement that "because women earn less, on average than men, they must work 20 percent longer for the same amount of pay," implies that gender wage discrimination is behind the gender pay gap.
Reality check: Most empirical studies find that there is no gender earnings gap after factors like hours worked, childbirth and child care, career interruptions, and individual choices about industry and occupation are considered. In other words, Equal Pay Day is an annual exercise in recycling a verifiably false narrative and statistical myth about widespread gender discrimination using an apples-to-oranges comparison of unadjusted gender differences in income.
Finally, here's a question I pose for the NCPE every year: Would achieving the goal of greater pay equity really be worth the loss of life for thousands of additional women each year who would die in work-related accidents? Perhaps slightly higher pay for higher-risk, more dangerous jobs is an option most women don't find very attractive, and the NCPE should stop advocating for women to choose such a deadly option.
Mark J. Perry (@Mark_J_Perry) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus.
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