Saturday, June 03, 2006

Disparate Impact--We Need Affirmative Action

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Women now earn the majority of diplomas in fields men used to dominate -- from biology to business -- and have caught up in pursuit of law, medicine and other advanced degrees...

Women earn the majority of bachelor's degrees in business, biological sciences, social sciences and history. The same is true for traditional strongholds such as education and psychology.

In undergraduate and graduate disciplines where women trail men, they are gaining ground, earning larger numbers of degrees in math, physical sciences and agriculture...

Women now account for about half the enrollment in professional programs such as law, medicine and optometry. That is up from 22 percent a generation ago.

The number of women enrolled in undergraduate classes has grown more than twice as fast as it has for men. Women outnumber men on campus by at least 2 million, and the gap is growing.

I honestly wonder why this is. And then there's this:

Women who work full time earn about 76 percent as much as men, according to the Institute of Women's Policy Research. Women are underrepresented in full-time faculty jobs, particularly in fields such as physical sciences, engineering and math.

I've been hearing that 76 cent figure since I was a kid--and the organization promoting that figure sounds more than a little biased. Can anyone explain where that figure comes from? Do they add up all the salaries for men and for women, take the averages, and come out with that figure? Do women and men who have essentially the same jobs, like college professors, perhaps, fall into that same 76 percent ratio? Does that figure have any meaning at all?

Via CNN.


Dennis Fermoyle said...

I fear being called a sexist for this, but I'm actually an equal rights, multicultural, gender fair, disability sensitive kind of guy--just like Darren. In any case, there was an article a year or so ago that said that women who don't have kids were essentially equal in income with men. The overall gap (the 76% you're talking about) happens because so many women take time off from their careers to take care of their kids at some point. That ends up knocking them below men in the race for higher promotions and higher salaries.

Chanman said...

They compare women who work full time to men, but they leave out some major factors.

1. Many of these women who work full time took time off - sometimes years - to have and raise babies. This loss of years keeps their salaries lower than full-time men in the same professions.

2. Even though women are just now catching up in traditionally male fields, men still dominate these fields in the workplace. These traditionally male work fields tend to pay more. That is because in the hard sciences like engineering and such, you find mostly men. In the soft (social) sciences like teaching, social work, and administrative work, you find mostly women. So if you compare a full-time kindergarten teacher to a full-time chemical engineer, of course the women are going to be paid less, but that isn't because of discrimination on the part of the employer, it is because of choices made by men and women of their own free will.

One last thing, if women could truly be paid 76 cents on the dollar compared to men, any employer with half a brain would hire all women. Talk about lowering your operating costs!

That woman to man pay ratio statistic has always driven me up the wall because it is so misleading.

rightwingprof said...

If you compare the total salaries of men to the total salaries of women, the figure is 76%.

Of course, that's a meaningless statistic, and when you compare similar jobs and hours, the distinction disappears.

IOW, that 76% is crap.