Really, it’s infuriating.
Very few, if any statistics have seeped so deeply into our culture than ones regarding the faux gender pay gap. But because they sound so outrageous, people feel the need to repeat them. Mostly on social media. Rest assured, this number is not accurate when we are talking about “equal work.” Here is where the statistic comes from:
The Census Bureau and BLS tend to collect numbers on full time working men and women. As an example, here are their numbers from 2010. This is one of the reports which reference the 77 cent stat directly.
The number is in reference to overall full-time work. As in, they took full-time workers (which they defined as over 35 hours a week), added up all the women who fit that criteria, added up all the men as well, and found their respective averages. There you get your disparity.
However, they did not adjust for many things that would make the work “equal.” Like, *gasp*, occupation. For example, most engineers are men, and most social workers are women. Most financiers are men, and most teachers are women. Since men and women go into different careers at different rates, you can’t add up all the workers for each gender and average them out to find “equal work.” It isn’t. Some jobs pay more than others, a concept a first grader grasps.
Also, men work longer hours full time. The average male works more hours a week than women do, even over the 35 hour threshold.
But don’t take it from me, please. Take it from well read and respected economists Dean Kalahar, Mark J. Perry, and Andrew G. Biggs. Click here, or here and read what they have to say if you want more. And for the love of God, just stop sharing that statistic. I know President Obama uses it a lot. I know all those cool Democrats keep repeating it. But it’s just a lie. Simply a lie. And you’re being their useful idiot.