On Tuesday, National Equal Pay Day, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to stop retaliation by federal contractors against employees who talk about their pay.
One would think I’d be thanking him. After all women earn 77 cents for every dollar men in the workforce earn. And ending mandatory wage secrecy would lead to more transparency, although I can’t imagine discussing my paycheck around the water cooler.
But what equal pay advocates don’t realize—or don’t tell us—is that sex discrimination is just one factor affecting the wage gap. They trot out anecdotal evidence of women being paid less than their male counterparts with the same experience and education.
What they aren’t advocating is fair pay—at least not when it comes to other aspects of the wage gap.
I’m sure it’s an oversight. Women who want to be paid the same as their male counterparts may, in fact, want to be treated fairly.
So let’s compare apples to apples.
Women voluntarily leaving the workforce for children and family is another factor influencing the gap. No one would expect a man to be compensated for time he spent away from the workforce.
And according to Vox, the news site that explains the news, women tend to negotiate pay less aggressively than men do.
So what’s the good news in all of this for employers, who are tasked with watching the company’s bottom line? If the wage gap is as one-dimensional as the equal pay movement says, executives could see wider profit margins—if only they would hire more women.