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Pay Equity and a Statistical Review of the Wage Gap

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Caitlin Stein
June 11, 2018


Pay equity and the pay gap have been a topic of debate for several decades. Economists, political agents and journalists have long since had this debate. Unfortunately, the matter remains inconclusive. There are five major arguments which refute the existence of the wage gap. These arguments are regarding educational and professional choices, hours and time worked, leave taken, gender personalities and the wage gap calculation not having been calculated as assumed.

Education and Professional Choices

The highest paying generically categorized jobs in America today are medical doctors and surgeons, attorneys, engineers and computer specialists. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, men dominate the graduation rates in engineering and computer science with an 80 percent /20 percent enrollment rate. Women typically dominate fields such as education, gender studies and social sciences which are not high-wage fields. Men appear to choose the higher paying fields for college which will certainly guarantee higher salaries once they graduate. Even after graduation, men across all professions only make an average of $26 more dollars a week than women across all professions according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keep in mind; this is an overview of all men and women without consideration of their profession. This gap will continue to grow as we continue into hours and time worked.

Hours and Time Worked

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men worked an average of 56 more minutes a day than women in 2016. Women spent more time doing household activities and more time caring for children, which could be where the 56-minute difference occurred. These statistics support the claim that men work longer hours with an average day at 8.4 hours. A woman’s workday is averaged at 7.8 hours. The study also pointed out that women are more likely to work part-time jobs or act as full-time homemakers, thus deducting the number of hours the typical woman works in a day. However, no matter the situation, it remains seen that men work more hours, on average than women. Women are also more likely to take a lower paying job for benefits and flexibility. Thus, men will have higher earnings.

Leave Taken

Men take less leave than women do in full-time jobs. According to the 2011 study conducted by Sorlin, Ohman and Londholm, in both gender “equal” and gender “unequal” companies, women took an average of eleven more sick days per year than men. The study continues to argue that women take more time from work for parental obligations and provides various reasons behind the calculation, but the fact of the matter lies in the numbers. Whatever the reason is, women still take more sick time per year than men.

Gender Personalities

Men and women are psychologically different. Men and women predominantly identify and are constructed to their birth gender. Gender differences biologically define personality traits. Marco Del Giudice’s 2012 study confirmed that men and women were found to have gender-specific personality traits. Women were found to be sensitive, warm and apprehensive. Men were found to be emotionally stable, dominate and vigilant. This information does not stipulate that a man cannot be sensitive, and a woman cannot be vigilant, it merely points out that the specific trait is stronger in the aforementioned gender. These personality differences play directly into career goals and growth. Men are more outgoing and likely to push for the promotion and the pay raise, where women typically remain in the background unseen. In addition, men are more outgoing than women and will approach superiors for raises and other benefits and will be more willing to negotiate pay rates.

Analysis of Wage Figures

The statistical income figures provided by the Department of Labor are a consideration of all wages of men and women across all professions. The statistical analysis is not reviewing men and women of the same profession and the same background. According to Jordan Peterson’s interview with BBC in January 2018, the wage gap has been reviewed under multivariate analyses and has been determined to be a non-issue. Men put more into their potential wages, thus resulting in higher pay in a national statistic. The output resulting from those decisions is where the wage gap comes into focus. The gap we see is not an equality of wage argument, but an equality of output argument.


In short, the five reasons presented in rebuttal of the wage gap provide structured and proven statistical data which supports the inequality of output rather than the inequality of pay. Men and women across all professions are making a wage based on their education and professional decisions, hours and time worked, leave taken and personality traits and differences. The wage cap represented by national figures in provided by the unilateral collecting and application of figures without consideration for variables.

Author: Dr. Caitlin P. Stein, DPA. Caitlin Stein graduated with her Doctorate in Public Administration in 2017 and is employed by a private financial company. She is a mother of two boys, happily married, and a freelance writer in between. [email protected]

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