It’s dismaying that pay equity for women is the family issue that emerged most loudly from the recent round of presidential debates. Pay equity by itself is a simplistic measure that obscures more complex and urgent public policy reforms.
Judging how fair our workplaces are by whether men and women are paid equally is like judging a teenager based on an SAT score. That single number doesn’t tell you anything about the kid’s study habits — not to mention character or passions.
Similarly, the oft-repeated assertion that women earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar says very little. The number is an average of full-time workers, rather than a comparison of men and women in the same jobs with the same experience. A 2009 study by the economics consulting firm CONSAD Research Corporation showed that when the wage gap is analyzed by occupations, regional markets, job titles and more, women make about 94 percent of what men make. (more…)