30 Mar 2015

Why Women Don’t Need To Earn The Same As Men

By International Women’s Day (March 8th in this year, 2015) has just passed, and one of the hottest topics was the gender pay gap. The fact that, on average, there is a 9.4% gap between what a woman earns compared to what a man earns, disgusts many. It paints a picture of a misogynistic society. Anything that paints such a picture will, of course, be something anybody with any form of interest in gender equality will jump all over. How, in this day and age, can a woman still earn less than a man?
Well, not only can I explain why, I’m also going to explain why it quite simply doesn’t matter. If anything, asking the question, “how much does the average woman earn in comparison to the average man?” does nothing but encourage gender inequality.
Warren Farrell posed a very interesting question when he wrote his book, Why Men Earn More: if men are truly paid more for the same standard of work as a female, why would anyone ever hire a man? It’s a question that, in my opinion, essentially debunks the myth that men earn more because, well, they are male.

However, he didn’t stop there. His research suggested that there are twenty-five key workplace decisions that men make which, in turn, allow them to earn more on average. Things like, for example:

  • working longer hours,
  • taking riskier or more hazardous jobs, and
  • willingness to train for more technical jobs which will limit their human contact.
And there you have it: men don’t earn more because of their gender. But, that’s not the point of this article. Far from it, in fact.
This week, Nick Clegg secured new measures to champion equal pay. Emma Watson, in her HeForShe interview, outlined that she wouldn’t stop working to reduce the pay gap.
The why, of course, is to make sure that women earn the same as men, because that would be a huge step forward for gender equality. And, you know what? That seems like a pretty important step to take in the fight for gender equality. I mean, after all, men and women are no different. They are, as we all know, entirely equal. So, why should a man earn more? Let me explain to you why it doesn’t matter. Or, to take it a step further, explain why trying to champion equal pay is actually a huge step in the wrong direction. Why trying to kill the pay gap will only encourage gender inequality.
For me, it’s rather simple. In the workplace, comparing, ranking and rating workers on their gender is total gender inequality. Boiling people’s skills, dispositions and competencies down to their gender? Total gender inequality. Even asking the question: how much does the average man earn in comparison to the average woman? Total gender inequality.
Surely, within the workplace, comparing workers by their gender is quite simply wrong. And, hence, to make sure that all men and all women earn the same is wrong. I’m almost certain that both men and women would rather be ranked by how good they are, how qualified they are and how suited they are for their job. Surely, within the workplace, comparing workers without even considering their gender once is equality. If equality of opportunity is there, equality within the workplace, period, is there.
Consider this thought experiment: there are two jobs available. One is worth a salary of one-hundred-thousand-pounds, the other worth a salary of ninety-one-thousand-pounds – a 9% difference. Two people apply, a man and a woman. One will get the higher paid job, the other, the lower paid job. The man has more experience, interviewed better and has more appropriate skills. The man gets the better job: he deserves it.
Comparing the two candidates solely on their skills, abilities, dispositions, competencies and qualities is equality. On the other hand, in a society which is striving to reduce the pay gap, the woman may get the better job. In turn, the pay gap will be lowered, and many will think equality is being achieved. It isn’t. I’m sure the woman wouldn’t want the job if her gender was the only thing that merited her it. The man deserves the better job, but won’t get it because the pay gap needs to be reduced, apparently.
Reducing the pay gap is encouraging gender inequality. The most qualified, most suited, and most experienced candidates should get the job, not the most suited gender.
Let’s stop reducing such an important question to a male or female question. Stop comparing workers on their gender. Stop ranking workers on their gender. Stop rating workers on their gender.
Rather, let’s start asking questions like: what’s the pay gap between workers with so many years of experience? What’s the pay gap between workers with 2:1 degrees and 2:2 degrees, and so on. Let’s stop boiling things down to genders. We don’t live in a misogynistic society, and the workplace is no different.
Let’s start comparing, ranking and rating workers on their qualities, skills, dispositions, competencies and abilities. Let’s prevent gender inequality from being introduced into the workplace in the form of killing the pay gap.

About Timmy Kennedy

Timmy is primarily a baseball writer from Northern Ireland. As a regular reader of a Voice For Men, and a strong advocate of true gender equality, he felt it was only right to offer his two pennies worth for the site. He has strong opinions on feminism, gender equality and the implications of contemporary topics on gender equality.


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