Friday, March 23, 2012

The wage gap - simple math edition

Inspired by a redditor:

Men work 56% of hours.
That means that men work 56 out of 100 hours while females worked 44 out of 100 hours.
(44/56)*100 = 78.57%

So, women worked 78.57% of the hours men worked. Let's see the % of money of men's earnings that women earned
(36,278/47,127)* 100 = 76.979%
So, women worked 78.6% of the hours men worked, and earned 77% of the money. This is a proportional and expected amount, based on hours worked.

Reality is probably not that simple, but before that, the sources are this factsheet by the Department of Labour Statistics (Slide 10 - Source US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2011) and men's and women's media income as cited here (Source: Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009 (2010)). The first one had another interesting statistic right next to the hours worked, namely fatal work injuries (Women: 7% Men: 93%) which also tells us there is more to the story. One think that fascinated me is the way we can look at the numbers. When you hear 56% of hours worked wear by men you would say that was fairly equal however men working about 22% more hours as compared to women has a total different ring. So what happens when we calculate the wage gap as percentage of total wages?

177 Dollars total earned (77 by women, 100 by men) -> 44% of Dollars earned are earned by women

That has a totally different ring to it right? Of course beside the simple math, there is also this CONSAD report:

An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women - CONSAD - 2009

There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively
account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.

This all came in light of the recent Times article and speculation that we might soon have a wage gap in women's favour, and you know what, I also posted about this as I like to highlight women's power on the job market, however than I came around the official statistic behind this. The articles read almost 40% of women earn more than their husband now look at this:

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey - BLS - Table 25. Wives who earn more than their husbands, 1987–2008

Families in which wives have earnings but husbands may not - Wives earning more: 34.5%
Families in which both wives and husbands have earnings - Wives earning more: 26.6%

Number of husbands where husbands do not have earnings: 4083 from 37988 or 11%

Anybody notice what is missing here? What about families where wives have no earnings? Might the numbers look a bit different there? I get the feeling we will still have a wage gap for a very long time. Attention, I am not saying this is a good thing, quite the contrary, I do believe it would be healthier for men to choose fatherhood above trying to reach the highest pay check. Maybe it is about time to empower fathers.

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