The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday July 7th

Gender pay gap is not as drastic as column indicates


I don’t get the purpose of Tuesday’s column (“‘Mad women’ and the pay gap,” Sept. 22). Was it to inform us about the show “Mad Men” or misinform us about the pay gap?

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, had this to say in her blog: The 77 percent figure comes from comparing the 2007 full-time median annual earnings of women with men, the latest year available from the Census Bureau.

The 2007 Department of Labor data show that women’s full-time median weekly earnings are nearly 80 percent of men’s. Just comparing men and women who work 40 hours weekly, without accounting for differences in jobs, training, or time in the labor force, yields a ratio of 87.2 percent, with a smaller pay gap.

These wage ratios are calculated from government data and do not take into account differences in education, job title and responsibility, regional labor markets, work experience, occupation and time in the workforce.

When economic studies include these major determinants of income, rather than simple averages of all men and women’s salaries, the pay gap shrinks even more.

Baruch College economics professor June O’Neill, in an article published in 2003, shows that when data on demographics, education, scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, work experience, child-related factors, and percent female in the occupation are analyzed, the wage ratio becomes 97.5 percent, an insignificant difference.

Although documented cases of discrimination exist, and are rightly settled in the courts, when all the factors behind the pay numbers are calculated, men and women earn about the same.

But seriously, next time I’m around my mom I’ll be sure to ask her what it was like back in the day instead of checking out her closet.

David Luther

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for March 7, 2022

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive