The U. S. Women’s Soccer Team made a big splash, not just on the field, winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the fourth such championship won by the Americans. They also made waves about the gender pay gap, complaining that they only earn a fraction of what their male counterparts do.
The raw facts are that the women’s team earned $38 million for winning, whereas the winner of the men’s world cup gets $400 million. Individual woman players got winner’s bonuses of $90,000, while the men’s bonuses would be $550,000. Based on those figures, it looks like the women got a raw deal. When you look just a bit further, though, the Women’s World Cup tournament generated revenues of $73 million, but the men’s tournament brought in $6 Billion, with a capital B.
Men’s events are more popular than woman’s in all sports. Does that mean that sports fans are hateful and misogynist because they do not spend their sports dollars equally between the genders? Of course not. Fans go to be entertained, and the entertainment consists of incredible feats of skill and physical prowess. Athletes who run faster, jump higher and farther, kick harder, have greater stamina, and make incredible, flashy plays are the ones that excite. Sorry ladies, men, on average, are bigger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive. That is not discrimination, it is biological fact. It is a difference of genes, body structure, hormones, and so on. Men and women are not built equally.
Governor Cuomo signed a new law in New York state that is aimed at ending the “gender pay gap,” and, not coincidentally, the woman’s soccer team was there for the signing. The whole idea behind the gap is that, in aggregate, men get paid twenty one percent more than women. Again, that sounds like a problem. It is, however, an illusion, as are most statistics based on raw aggregates, which brings us to another facet of the problem: choice.
People who choose to live in a small isolated community one hundred miles from nowhere are likely choosing to earn only a fraction of what they would if they had instead opted for a big city, where wages are higher and opportunities more abundant. To a large degree, that is the kind of gap that we are talking about with gender. Statistical analysis shows that women tend to choose different careers than men. In general, men like things while women like relationships. A large percentage of librarians, teachers, and nurses are women. A large percentage of truck drivers, oil rig roustabouts, and engineers are men.
Almost all of the difference in wages is accounted for when adjusting for things like career choice, education level, number of years on the job, time away from home, hazardous jobs, and so on. It turns out that childless, never-married females earn more than childless, never-married males, which is a pretty good control group. Gender preferences in marriage, family roles, and home life account for a significant portion of the difference. Whether that is bad or good is an interesting discussion but is beside the point. It is a fact that must be considered in all wage fairness discussions.
Talking about gaps, ninety three percent of workplace deaths and ninety two percent of incarcerations are men. Shouldn’t we try to equalize these also? Of course not. Men and women are different.
This information has been available for decades. There is no reason for anyone involved in the discussion to be ignorant of it, especially politicians who make laws that affect lives, careers, businesses, and economies. If you pretend that there is a huge gender pay gap, it can no longer be considered just an honest mistake You are lying.