“Equal Pay Day” is slated for April 8—plenty of time for Democrats to start playing the gender card in hopes of galvanizing female voters ahead of the November midterm elections.
Rumor has it that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nev.) is getting ready to move on the Paycheck Fairness Act—a bill that would allow employees to sue businesses that pay different workers different wages—even if those differences have nothing to do with the employees’ gender. No doubt his partner on the House side, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), will join in.
The all-message-and-no-facts tour will likely run between now and November 4, with regular guest appearances by every liberal running for congressional office.
Here are five key facts to debunk the rhetoric:
1. How many cents on the dollar? When you compare women and men who are doing the same job and have similar educational backgrounds and experience, the wage gap all but disappears. The whole “women make 77 cents for every dollar men make,” line, no matter how many times the Left says it, is absolutely false when you compare apples to apples.
2. Women who earn more. Twenty-something women without children, living in metropolitan areas, earn 8 percent more on average than their male counterparts, according to 2008 Census data. This is not surprising, since they’re better educated than their male counterparts.
3. No educational gap. More women than men are attending and graduating from collegetoday, and they are receiving the majority of associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.
4. Women making choices. When it comes to college majors, women and men choosedifferent areas of study. Not all areas of study have the same earning power. According to a Georgetown University report, of the top 10 most profitable majors, men greatly outnumber women in all but one. Among the 10 least profitable majors, women outnumber men. Want to make more? Major in petroleum engineering. Want to make less? Major in visual and performing arts. Women and men are both free to choose either path. Obviously, they have different preferences.
5. Need to borrow a dollar? The number of wealthy women in the U.S. is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men. And some estimate that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of the nation’s wealth.
Democrats clearly think the best way to motivate women is to continue to have them believe they are under assault—that the “war on women” rages on. But the fact is that President Obama’s policies have left Democrats with little choice: Due to Obamacare and other misguided policies, fewer Americans either have, or are looking for, jobs than at any point since 1978. That’s bad for women and men. Equal pay rhetoric means nothing to people who can’t get a job in the first place.
Genevieve Wood is a senior contributor at Heritage Foundation's Foundry.