Dr. Warren Farrell, the only man ever elected three times to the Board of the National Organization for Women in NYC, once asked, “If men are paid more for the same work, why would anyone hire a man?”
He may be sorry he asked. But during the years of research that followed, the answer evolved: Men earn more than women, but not for the same work—for 25 different workplace choices. Men’s choices lead to men earning more money; women’s choices lead to women having better lives.
Men’s trade-offs include working more hours (women typically work more at home); taking more-hazardous assignments (cab-driving; construction; trucking); moving overseas or to an undesirable location on-demand (women’s greater family obligations inhibit this); and training for more-technical jobs with less people contact (e.g., engineering).
Women’s choices appear more likely to involve a balance between work and the rest of life. Women are more likely to balance income with a desire for safety, fulfillment, potential for personal growth, flexibility and proximity-to-home. These lifestyle advantages lead to more people competing for these jobs and thus lower pay.
Only when Dr. Farrell’s research journey uncovered these 25 differences, did the “holy grail” become visible: women now earn more money for the same work—that is, women earn more when they work equal hours at the same job with the same size of responsibility for the same length of time with equal productivity, etc. The women’s movement can celebrate its greatest single triumph—exceeding its goal of equal pay for equal work. A triumph that frees women to enter the next level of progress...
Since men still earn more money, Why Men Earn More introduces to women the 25 ways to higher pay, showing which trade-offs lead to how much increase in pay, creating for women an opportunity to decide which trade-offs are worth it given her individual personality and current goals.
Dr. Farrell shares his journey with us—how he saw his wife, a business owner, responding to employees who wanted a balanced life with equal pay. What he was being told by CEOs “in private” that they were unwilling to say in public. Warren shares how his discovery that never-married women have long out-earned never-married men led him on the search for factors other than the male-female factor that accounted for the pay gap, and helped him understand that men’s workplace choices were not “choices” per se, but the married man’s fulfillment of his financial responsibilities.
In the Intro, Why Men Earn More stuns us with some current data on how both part-time working women now earn more than men when they work equal hours, as well as how much more than men full-time working women make if they have never been married. He introduces us to the sources of his data (usually the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) and his research methods. But at every moment, as our sensibilities of political correctness are being shattered, we feel Dr. Farrell reconstructing our vision, allowing the discovery of opportunities for women that were missed when our binoculars were focused on discrimination against women. Thus the twenty-five opportunities to higher pay that are Part I.
Chapter One: Field of Dreams: Choose the Right Field and Higher Pay Will Come
Dr. Farrell begins with the first ten ways to higher pay—ten ways to choose both a field and sub-field that pay well: the “Field-with-Higher-Yield Formula.” He explains how almost every field has high-paying sub-fields; which fields and sub-fields are “fields of the future;” which are becoming more user-friendly to women due to changes in technology.
Did you know that no woman has died in the Marines or Air Force in the War in Iraq? Findings like this allow Dr. Farrell to guide women safely where most fear to tread—into the two secrets of hazardous occupations: first, where women can get equal pay with much less-than-equal danger; and second, how, for example, running a construction company allows a woman all the affirmative action benefits for women-owned construction companies with none of the hazards of being a construction worker.
Each approach of Dr. Farrell’s offers creative, win-win solutions. While on the one hand he explains the money we miss when we follow our bliss, he offers creative ways to earn the money to securely pursue what we love to do. In this chapter Dr. Farrell begins his push to get both sexes to look at each other and their work-family lives more creatively.
Chapter Two: Doing Time
This chapter looks at the average benefit of each contribution of “Doing Time” in the workplace—from hours worked to uninterrupted work experience with the same employer, to commuting time. For example, if someone works 13% more hours in the workplace, should they expect 13% more pay? No. They should expect 44% more pay. Once we know the pay-off and the trade-off, we look at the implications of these for planning a family, or following your bliss; for traditional roles, or a reversal of roles. Do top executive women wish they had put in more hours, or fewer hours, or do they look at work time differently? Cross-culturally, which women and men are the happiest—those who work overtime or part time? And finally, what are the male-female differences in each of these areas, and how much of the pay gap is accounted for by men’s tendency to work that extra 13%, have more uninterrupted experience, and so on?
Chapter Three: On the Move
In “On the Move” we discover that people who get higher pay are more willing to move to undesirable locations at the company’s behest, and, once on the job, are more willing to travel extensively (be an international sales rep versus a local sales rep). We get advice from top female executives on the importance of international experience at an early age, and how companies are developing more flexible, short-term ways for women to get that experience. We are introduced to “Carpe Diem Moving” such as construction workers and nurses moving where they’re needed when they’re needed. Since only 16% of “frequent flyers” are women, special emphasis is placed on what needs to happen for a woman who wishes to travel for the family to benefit emotionally.
Chapter Four: Responsibility, Training and Ambition
We begin this chapter by discovering “You Can’t Tell a Salary by its Title”—why, for example, a Corporate Vice President of Finance is likely to make more and be promoted more quickly than a Corporate Vice President for Human Resources. And why we can’t say “male Corporate Vice Presidents of Finance earn more than female Corporate Vice Presidents of Finance, therefore women are discriminated against” until we determine whether the men have more financial responsibilities (larger international companies, etc.) . Perhaps the most intriguing part of the chapter is the differences between the goals of men and women at every stage of life, leading to men earning more money and women having more balanced lives, to women’s visible juggling acts and men men’s invisible juggling acts.
Part I Conclusion
Part One’s goals include creating a different attitude toward the workplace—so that when we hear, “men earn a dollar for each 80 cents women earn” it will trigger for women 25 paths to higher pay rather than one path to victimhood. It hopefully uncovered not just twenty-five—but hundreds-- of little pay-offs such as the dozens of ways to be a nurse, engineer or computer specialist--with a choice tailored to each personality at every time of life. It introduces new methods of looking at the workplace—of looking not just at field of choice, but subfield; not just a field as it was or is, but a field as technology will create it to be; a field transformed by the evolution of men caring more for children and women creating more money; of how fields will adjust to economic hard times and easy times; of the importance of assessing not just pay but the trade-offs of hours invested, moves required, risks taken, so each man and woman can live a life of genuine power—the power that comes from the knowledge that leads to control of our lives.
Chapter Five: What Women Contribute to the Workplace
Drawing from his corporate workshops, Dr. Farrell tells us what men love about working with women, and why it is important to not pressure women into becoming “imitation men”. He gives many examples of how women’s and men’s differences create workplace synergy—from good cop/bad cop roles in domestic violence work to the creativity of female funeral directors to the greater family focus of female legislators. He concludes with what makes men feel threatened by some women and what both sexes can do to reduce that feeling.
Chapter Six: Why Women and Men Approach Work So Differently, Yet So Similarly
When women and men can be their own bosses, they are free to approach work by priorities that are theirs, thus a look at the differences between men-owned and women-owned businesses creates a purer picture of their priorities. For starters, female-owned businesses earn only 47% of what male-owned businesses earn. Why? The twenty-five male-female differences are not tempered by either corporate requirements or corporate egalitarianism. Pay is measured by raw productivity. But also we see how more subtle influences of female and male socialization, such as men’s tendency to pay for women, may influence men’s greater willingness to pay for employees. This chapter introduces “focused responsibilities” and “divided responsibilities” and explains how women’s tendency toward divided responsibilities will be especially viable in the 21st Century.
Chapter Seven: The Myths that Prevent Women from Knowing Why Men Earn More
When women believe they earn less than men for the same work, it makes sense for their husbands to work and women to care for the children, and thus we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of women leaving the workplace, justifying lower pay. The belief also spawns many corollary myths that breed contempt for men, such as “women are collaborative, men are hierarhical,” or “women make better managers.” Dr. Farrell shows how each of these beliefs are not only myths, but hurts women’s careers, poisons love and divides families. Other than that, they’re great!
Chapter Eight: Discrimination Against Women
Does this mean there’s no discrimination against women? No. There is. Dr. Farrell demonstrates the subtle ways in which, when a mother works, we unwittingly “guilt trip da mama;” he explains to men the unconscious mechanisms of the buddy-boy network, and explores how women’s mentorship advantage is backfiring as today’s climate of women suing men has turned men’s instinct to protect women into the need to protect themselves. A chapter rich with solutions to these discriminations.
Chapter Nine: Discrimination In Favor of Women: Why Women Are Now Paid More Than Men for the Same Work
If women are now paid more than men for the same work, why is that? Dr. Farrell begins with the legal mechanisms of discrimination in favor of women: the “affirmative action tax” and “psychological affirmative action” that together make it possible to pay a woman more even if she produces less. Warren then looks at the social mechanisms—contrasting “female comfort power” that works for women with the fear of male sexuality that works against men; together, they create the “caste system” of the touchable and untouchable male. He concludes with some of the ways this discrimination in favor of women forces men to develop skills to be paid equally, which skills eventually lead men earning more (for different work).
Chapter Ten: The Genetic Celebrity Pay Gap
When a woman’s genes offer her enough beauty that men who know nothing about her except her beauty nevertheless follow her—as we might follow a celebrity—Dr. Farrell calls her a genetic celebrity. In this chapter, we discover the “genetic celebrity pay gap”—how the man “earns” his way to her attention by paying for dinners, drinks, dates and diamonds; by creating career opportunities and sharing his future earnings with her in marriage. We are introduced to “Genetic Celebrity Hiring Discrimination” and “Access Discrimination” as well as myriad forms of “invisible income” the genetic celebrity generates, such as her power as a tip magnet. The results? The man earns more money; the genetic celebrity often has more money, has more time to spend it, and lives longer. But all is not roses as the pedals of her genetic celebrity power wilts...
Chapter 11. Some Nagging Questions....
This brief chapter deals with two nagging questions: “When women enter men’s occupations, doesn’t the pay go down?” and “Isn’t the issue more than equal pay—isn’t it comparable worth?” In a sense, the lessons of the entire book are the answer to both questions, and Dr. Farrell concludes this chapter with a humorous view of what comparable worth might look like were it proposed by men.
Chapter 12. Conclusions
Why Men Earn More concludes by connecting the dots between the goals it hopes it fulfilled and the changes that we need to make if the future is to be better for both ourselves and our children; between our monetary futures and our emotional future; and between our personal futures and our future within a global economy.
©2005 Warren Farrell, Ph.D