2010 Warren Farrell, Ph.D
An extensive interview of Warren Farrell,
by J. Steven Svoboda
From the CATO Institute
Why Men Earn More
The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap–and What Women Can Do About It
Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Featuring the author, Warren Farrell.
The Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Warren Farrell, the only man to have been elected three times to the National Organization for Women’s New York board of directors, is the author of such books as The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Are the Way They Are. In his new book, he argues that women earn less than men on average not because they are discriminated against, but because they have made lifestyle choices that affect their ability to earn. Why Men Earn More argues that although discrimination sometimes plays a part, both men and women unconsciously make trade-offs that affect how much they earn. Farrell clearly defines the 25 different workplace choices that affect incomes—including putting in more hours at work, taking riskier jobs or more hazardous assignments, being willing to change location, and training for technical jobs that involve less people contact—and provides readers with specific, research-supported ways for women to earn higher pay.
From COPS (Coalition of Parent Support)
Dr. Warren Farrell is the author of many books, including two award-winning international best-sellers, Why Men Are The Way They Are plus The Myth of Male Power. His most recent books are Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, which was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and Father and Child Reunion about how fathers can be successful at both work and home. His latest book, just published this year, Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It, helps both employers and employees understand what makes a company want to increase an employee’s pay. His books are published in over 50 countries, and in 10 languages.
Three Judicial Biases About Moms, Dads and Children
by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
How I Began the Discovery that Men Earn Less than Women for the Same Work
I promised that in April I would answer the question, “If male bosses are to blame for discrimination, why are women who own their own businesses earning only 49% of their male counterparts—that is, why are women netting less when they are their own bosses than when they have male bosses?”
As I explored businesses owned by women versus men, I discovered that nowhere is the male-female difference in priorities clearer than in the difference between these businesses. I discovered how running one’s own business tended either to follow what I came to call “the high-pay formula” in exchange for lifestyle trade-offs, or follow “the low-pay formula” in exchange for lifestyle payoffs.
I began to scout around. I discovered that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found as long ago as the early 1980s that companies paid men and women equal money when their titles were the same, their responsibilities the same, and their responsibilities were of equal size—for example, both regional buyers for Nordstrom’s, not one a local and one a regional buyer. But although this was published in the official publication of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, I had never read of the study in a single paper or heard of it in the media.
To my surprise (in those years of my innocence), once gender equality was found, the gender comparison was not only ignored but never updated.
At the same time, a longitudinal survey found that when women and men started at the same time as engineers; worked in the same work settings; with equal professional experience, training, family status, and absences; the female engineers received the same pay. It too was neither publicized nor updated. I began to see that we study what gets funded, and what gets funded depends a lot on what’s likely to be found.
“Is it possible,” I asked, “that men and women have different work goals and treat work differently?” If so, would pinpointing these differences be more helpful to women than assuming male bosses didn’t value them?
As I freed my mind to consider alternative perspectives, I vaguely recalled a statistic in Jessie Bernard’s The Future of Marriage, one of the favorite books among the early feminists. I had half-registered this statistic at the time, but probably discarded it from full consideration because it created too much cognitive dissonance with my assumptions of discrimination against women. I pulled it off the shelf for a second read.
Yes, there it was, in an appendix: Census Bureau figures show that even during the 1950s, (which Alex studies in ancient history class!) there was less than a 2% pay gap between never married women and men, and never-married white women between 45 and 54 earned 106% of what their never-married white male counterparts made.
I thought about these findings in relation to affirmative action. Obviously, this was prior to affirmative action. In fact, this pay equality had occurred even prior to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. And prior to the current feminist movement.
I was sure this example, though, was an aberration. I began checking. Of course, almost all studies showed men earned more, but as soon as I checked on unmarried women who had worked every year since leaving school, I found that they too earned slightly more than their male counterparts—and that was as far back as 1966. And in 1969, even as I was claiming discrimination against female professors while doing my doctorate at NYU, nationwide, female professors who had never been married and never published earned 145% of their counterpart male colleagues. This is not a typo: The women earned 45% more than the men.
A feminist colleague objected with a half-smile, “Never-married women are winners; never-married men are losers.” She clarified, “I mean never-married men are not as educated, are less likely to work hard. That’s why women don’t marry them. Never-married women can take care of themselves, so they don’t get married.”
I checked. Sure enough, never-married women were more educated. So, I decided to check out the latest data among educated men and women who worked full-time. The results? The men earn only 85% of what the women earn; or put another way, the women earn 117% of what the men earn.
If all these findings had a common theme, it was, “It’s marriage and children, stupid!” Well, with each chapter of Why Men Earn More, we’ll see more about how our paycheck is influenced by our family role, and how we can use this information to tailor our family’s need for our income versus our time.
When I shared these findings with some of my colleagues, the response (aside from having fewer colleagues!) from a couple of them was, “Not so fast... it’s really the part-time women who are subject to discrimination.” Maybe. So I checked that out, too.
To get 2004 data on part-time workers required obtaining unpublished Census Bureau data. I was surprised at what it revealed: a part-time working woman makes $1.10 for every dollar made by her male counterpart. (Men and women who work part-time both average 20 hours a week.)
Now that we have a sense that the world is not about discriminating against women to benefit men, I will give us in our May column something we can all use to help our daughters, mothers, wives or female partners earn more: my “11 top tips on How Women Can Earn More,” as culled from Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap-- and What Women Can Do About It.