I always hear accusations that women don’t make as much money as men. “Women get paid seventy cents for every dollar a man gets paid for the SAME job!” I don’t see why they hired the woman in the first place if they already had someone doing that job. But hey, she was cheap.
Is discrimination really as rampant as people make it sound? Apparently the facts are on their side. It’s a given that women in similar positions make less on average than their male counterparts. So, are we just all sexist?
I know, as a sexist male myself, if I were hiring someone for a job, I’d likely have a salary in mind. Let’s say I have a job available at $20/hour. Well, as it turns out, there’s a very qualified woman, and I want to give the job to her. But since she’s a woman I’d decide to pay her $16/hour. Might as well, right? She’s a woman. Now, if a man turned out to be the applicant I’d want to hire, then naturally I would say, “You know, this job pays twenty bucks an hour, but since you and I each have a penis, what do you say I give you an extra three dollars an hour?”
Clearly, that’s how it must go down all over the nation. People apparently set their wages, not based on the position, but on the gender of the person they choose to hire. With that logic, though, it’s a wonder any men have jobs. They’re too damn expensive!
Maybe that isn’t the actual answer. It’s probably a lot more sexist than social preferences. I think it gets at the very fundamentals of men and women, and women are less likely to have what it takes. If you’re working a job under $15/hour, then there’s probably not much chance of negotiating your wage. You get what the job offers, and your oppositely-gendered co-workers get the same. The higher paying jobs, where this “income gender gap” is more likely to occur, happen to depend more on personal negotiations. If you’re in one of these jobs, you might be making more or less than even your similarly-gendered co-workers.
I’m thinking that maybe women just aren’t as good at asking for what they want. I’m sure there are strong-minded women, but we wouldn’t even bother hiring them. Nobody wants to work with that.
In a study by Linda Babcock, she found that men made about $4,000 more than women did as a starting wage. The telling part is that 57% of men negotiated for their starting salary. That’s more than half! Way to go men! Take what’s owed to you, like your testosterone-driven “brains” are built to do. Women weren’t as impressive with their negotiating tactics. Ninety-three percent (that’s well over half) of women from the study took the salary as offered, without negotiating. That’s a really huge difference, and Babcock says that Carnegie Mellon’s career department “strongly advises” graduating students to negotiate their salary. These men and women had the same access to the same career counseling. (But who’s going to trust a gender studies researcher with cock in her name?)
In a follow up study by Babcock, Deborah Small and Michelle Gelfand, participants were asked to play Boggle™ and were paid between $3 and $10 for four rounds of gameplay. After being handed three dollars, the experimenter would ask “Is three dollars okay?” If the particpant asked for more money, they would be given more. However, they wouldn’t be given more for merely complaining. They had to ask for it overtly. That study found that both men and women felt the same about their Boggle™ performance, but nine times as many men than women asked for more money.
|Buy one, get one free|
It’s not just flat out sexism as people who spout this income difference seem to imply. There’s more to it. I think it comes down, as most things in my life do, to what women want. Nobody really knows, and that includes women. So, if you don’t know what you want, how are you ever going to ask for it? Men are more definitive in what they want and more aggressive about pursuing it. Women, despite not always being able to articulate their wants and needs, do well at finding a way to get it. They just rarely ask for it directly. So, in a professional setting, where you can’t give someone the silent treatment or guilt them into paying you more or call them out for sleeping with that 17-year old waitress over three years ago, women simply aren’t taking a stand. So, when it comes to women getting paid less than men, what can I say? They’re asking for it.