​​There really is no ‘gender wage gap.’ There’s a ‘gender earnings gap’ but ‘paying women well’ won’t close that gap


Here’s Tim Worstall writing in Forbes today (“Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Wrong Here – Just Paying Women More Won’t Close Gender Pay Gap”), emphasis added:

这里引用Tim Worstall今天在福布斯发表的文章(“Facebook首席运营官Sheryl Sandberg错了——仅仅给女性涨工资不能弥补两性收入差距” )重点我已加粗:

The idea that we can close the gender pay gap just by paying women more seems reasonable enough, as Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has intimated on BBC radio. Sadly though this isn’t in fact the correct answer. The gender pay gap does not exist because men and women are paid less for the same jobs, it exists because men and women tend to do slightly different jobs. When equal jobs being done out there is reached then we will have gender pay parity. Because, as before, we already have the same pay for the same job.

通过给女性涨薪就可以消除薪酬性别差距的想法听上去很是合理,正如Facebook的Sheryl Sandberg在BBC上所指出的那样。然而遗憾的是这事实上并非正确答案。薪酬性别差距的存在并不是因为在同一份工作上,女性的薪酬比男性的少,而是因为两性择业倾向略有不同。倘若工作分布在两性之间完全等同,那么薪酬平等自然达成。因为,正如之前所指出的,同一份工作,相同的报酬。

This thus is wrong, or at best an incomplete understanding of the issue:


Fairer pay for women must be backed up by stronger policies at work, according to Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. But the firm’s chief operating officer, in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, said the first step is to “start paying women well.”

按照Facebook的Sheryl Sandberg的说法,更公平的女性薪酬待遇必须由更有力的政策来支持。然而这位首席运营官在BBC广播四台Desert Island Discs节目的访谈中表示,这么做的第一步是:“给女性以更好的薪酬待遇。”

That’s rather to put the cart before the horse for the company of course. Why would anyone just want to have to pay more wages? But it’s also to miss the actual construction of the gender pay gap itself. It simply is not that a woman and a man doing exactly the same job get different pay because of their genders.Quite apart from anything else that is illegal and in a society as litigious as ours if it were happening on any scale we’d never be able to use the courts for anything else. Half the legal profession would be taking such cases on contingency fees.


What does happen is that men and women slightly end up doing different jobs and more than that there’s a large difference in the number who climb the greasy pole to the top. It isn’t that, say, female senior managers are paid less than male senior managers it’s that there are fewer female senior managers than male. This hugely skews those average figures like the 77 cents per dollar that are bandied about.


Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday she believed job openings should be contested by equal numbers of women and men.

Facebook首席运营官Sandberg周日通过BBC广播四台Desert Island Discs表示,她坚信职位空缺应该由同等数量的男性和女性来竞争。

“We need to start paying women well and we need the public and the corporate policy to get there,” she said. “Certainly, women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that has got to be part of the answer.”


The other half of that proposal is absolutely correct given the above analysis. As and when there are equal numbers of each gender doing the same sorts of jobs to the same sort of level then there will be no gender pay gap.


MP:It’s an important, but overlooked point that there really is no gender wage gap, rather, there’s a gender earnings gap and that pay gap has almost nothing to do with gender discrimination. That is, there is almost no evidence that men and women working in the same position with the same background, education and qualifications are paid differently. Whether it’s the Target Corporation, Facebook, the University of Virginia, the United Way, the White House or McDonald’s, there is almost no evidence that any of those organizations have two pay scales: one for men (at a higher wage) and one for women (at a lower wage). Of course, that would be illegal, and if that practice existed, organizations would be exposed to legal action and “half the legal profession would be taking such cases on contingency fees” as Tim points out.

MP(本文作者):一个很重要但被忽视的问题是,薪酬性别差距并不存在,存在的是收入的性别差距,而这一差距和性别歧视几乎没有关系。换句话说,几乎没有证据显示在相同岗位,拥有相同背景、学历、技能条件的男性和女性会收到不同的工资待遇。不论是Target百货公司、Facebook、弗吉尼亚大学、the United Way、白宫还是麦当劳,几乎都没有证据显示以上任一机构拥有两套薪酬标准,男性一套(高工资),女性一套(低工资)。当然,这样做是非法的,一旦存在这样的政策,机构将会面临法律诉讼,如同Tim指出的那样,“一半的法律人士会为了胜诉费接这样的案子”。

What certainly does exist is a well-documented gender earnings gap when the unadjusted median earnings of men and women are compared without correcting for any of the dozens of relevant factors that explain the natural differences in earnings by gender. For example, it’s been a verifiable statistical fact that a gender earnings gap has existed at the White House for as long as those salary records have been available (since 1995). Although men and women at the White House get paid the same for the same job, there are always more men than women in the highest-paid positions and more women than men in the lowest-paid, and that’s the case for both Democratic and Republican presidents. So while there’s likely no gender discrimination and no gender wage gap at the White House, there IS a gender earnings gap that persists year after year, regardless of the president or party. And the gender earnings gap at the White House, like the gender earnings gap that exists for most organizations and throughout the entire US economy, reflects the fact that men and women “do slightly different jobs” as Worstall says. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that men and women mostly do much different jobs, and labor market data show huge gender differences by occupation.

倘若把两性的未调整中位数收入数据放在一起比较,而不经过许多可以解释收入性别差距的相关因子的修正,我们确实有大量资料可以证明收入性别差距的存在。举例而言,作为一个可检验的统计事实,自有薪水记录以来(1995年起),白宫内的收入性别差距就一直存在。尽管在白宫相同岗位上,男性和女性拿着同等的报酬,但在高薪岗位上总是男多女少、而低薪岗位上女多男少,这一情况同时适用于共和党和民主党的执政时期。所以尽管在白宫几乎不可能存在性别歧视和工资性别差,但是收入性别差距却是年复一年地存在, 无关总统或政党。而白宫存在的收入性别差距,如同绝大多数机构、乃至整个美国经济中存在的收入性别差距一样,反映出了如Worstall所说的男性和女性“在职业选择上略有不同”这样一个事实。实际上,更准确地说,两性的职业选择通常差别很大,劳工市场的数据显示出了两性择业的巨大差异。

Therefore, if the goal is to close the gender earnings gap, Sandberg’s solution “to start paying women well” will fail – men and women are both getting paid well when they both work in the same position and have the same job qualifications. For example, women who work at the White House are already getting paid well, and receive the same wage as their male counterparts. To close the gender earnings gap at the White House would require that more women remain in the labor force and acquire continuous work experience to qualify for the highest-paid, senior-level positions. Currently, there are just apparently more men than women with the extensive and continuous work experience, who are willing to work long hours under demanding conditions to be hired for the senior White House positions – and that was the same for Bush II, Obama, and Trump.


To close the gender earnings gap — assuming that is even a desirable goal — wouldn’t involve closing a gender wage gap that doesn’t even really exist, it would involve closing lots of other gender gaps that do exist and lead to gender differences in earnings. Below are 20 gender gaps that reflect gender differences in the labor market, and are gaps that generally favor men and help explain why men earn higher incomes on average than women. (Most of the gender differences below are discussed in Warren Farrel’s excellent book “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It.“)

要消除收入性别差距的任务——假设这是一个可欲的目标——不包括消除薪酬性别差这一甚至并不存在的差距,则需消除众多其他性别差异,正是它们导致了收入性别差。以下是20项性别差异,它们在劳动力市场下反映了男女的一些不同之处,这些差异普遍有利于男性,并帮助解释了为什么平均而言男性的收入比女性高。(Warren Farrel的力作《Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It》对以下提到的性别差异中的大部分进行了论述。)

1.   Men disproportionately gravitate towards higher paying occupations in technology and hard sciences (e.g., petroleum engineer).

l  男性不成比例地倾向于技术、硬科学领域的高薪职位。(例如:石油工程师)

2.   Men disproportionately choose higher-risk, higher paying occupations with greater safety risks for occupational injuries and fatalities (e.g., oil field worker, roofer, and logging).

l  男性不成比例地选择高风险、高收益的工种,通常伴随着更高的工伤亡风险。(例如:油田工人,屋顶工,伐木工)

3.   Men are more willing to work outdoors in uncomfortable, physically demanding work environments (construction, oil field workers, commercial fishing, logging).

l  男性更愿意忍受不舒适的、身体条件要求高的户外工作环境。(建筑类,油田工人,商业捕鱼,伐木)

4.   Men are more willing than women to choose demanding, intense jobs where you can’t check out at the end of the work day (e.g., corporate attorney, senior White House staff).

l  男性相比女性更愿意选择高要求的、高强度,通常下班后也要保持在线的工作。(例如,公司律师,高级白宫职员。)

5.   Men select jobs with higher pay but with lower personal fulfillment (tax accountant).

l  男性会选择高薪水、低自我实现的工作。(税务会计)

6.   Men select jobs with higher financial and emotional risks (e.g., venture capitalist).

l  男性会选择高财务风险,考验心理素质的工作。(例如:风险资本家)

7.   Men are more willing than women to work the worst shifts during the worst hours.

l  男性相比女性更愿意忍受最糟糕时间的轮班。

8.   Men often choose higher paying subfields (e.g., surgery and anesthesiology).

l  男性常常会选择高薪的分支领域。(外科,麻醉科)

9.   Men are more willing to work in dirty or unpleasant environments with minimal human contact (e.g., prison guard, steel worker, truck drivers).

l  男性更愿意忍受卫生条件差、令人不悦、极少有人际交往的工作环境。(例如:监狱看守,钢铁工人,卡车司机。)

10.  Men work longer hours per week than women on average.

l  平均而言男性每周工作时间长于女性。

11.  Men more frequently than women invest in updating their skills with greater financial payoffs (e.g., master’s degree in computer technology vs. master’s degree in education).

l  在对自己的投资方面,男性更多地选择具有更高财务回报的技能提升。(例如:计算机技术的硕士学位vs教育学的硕士学位。)

12.  Men are more likely than women to have more years of continuous experience in their current occupation.

l  男性在当前职位上持续工作的年数通常要比女性长。

13.  Men are more likely than women to have more years of recent, uninterrupted experience with their current employer.

l  男性与当前雇主的近期的、不间断的工作交往通常要比女性多。

14.  More work more weeks during the year than women, on average.

l  平均而言,男性一年中的工作周数比女性多。

15.  Men are less likely than women to be absent from work (e.g., doctor’s visits, sick days, taking time off when children are sick, etc.).

l  男性通常相比女性更少请假。(例如:看医生,病假,因为孩子生病请假,等等。)

16.  Men are more willing than women to tolerate longer commute times.

l  男性相比女性更愿意忍受更长通勤时间。

17.  Men are more willing to relocate, especially to undesirable locations at their company’s request.

l  男性更愿意接受工作调动,尤其是在公司要求下调去不合意的地方。

18.  Men are more willing than women, on average, to travel extensively on the job.

l  平均而言,男性相比女性更愿意接受因公频繁出差 。

19.  Men are more willing than women to take the risk of a variable income, e.g., to be paid by commission vs. a fixed salary.

l  男性相比女性更愿意承担非固定收入的风险,例如,接受佣金vs固定薪水。

20.  Men often produce more output, e.g., scholarly research articles for university professors.

l  男性通常有更多的产出,例如,大学教授的学术论文。

Note: None of those gaps above apply universally, but reflect overall gender differences that apply in general and on average.


Bottom Line: To close the gender earnings gap, women have a lot of gaps to close and Sheryl Sandberg at least partially recognizes that. Women have to be willing to work more hours per week, more weeks per year, work more in higher-risk jobs and be more exposed to occupational injuries and fatalities (e.g., be willing to experience 50% of workplace fatalities instead of the current 7%), work more in jobs that are physically demanding in more hostile work environments, be willing to commute longer distances, take less time off work for family reasons, take fewer sick days, be willing to accept higher-risk variable incomes like commission-based compensation, be willing to travel more and relocate more often, accept jobs with less human contact, sacrifice job-related personal fulfilment, etc. To paraphrase Worstall, unless and until there are equal numbers of each gender working in the same occupations, for the same number of hours and with the same years of continuous experience, commuting the same times, suffering the same number of occupational fatalities, etc., there will be a  gender earnings gap. The only way to close that gap is to get to a point where men and women are completely interchangeable in their family and work roles, and getting to that outcome is probably impossible; and an outcome that even women apparently don’t want, given their current demonstrated preferences for career options, work hours, commute times, and family responsibilities.

总结:为了消除收入性别差距,女性有很多差异要消除,Sheryl Sandberg至少部分地认识到这一点。女性需要每周工作更多个小时,每年工作更多周数,更多地投入高危职业、暴露在工伤亡风险之下(比方说,愿意分担50%的工亡而不是现在的7%),更多地投入在恶劣工作环境下对身体要求高的工作,愿意接受更长的通勤距离,更少地因为家庭原因请假,请更少的病假,愿意接受像基于佣金的报酬那样的更高风险的非固定收入,愿意更频繁地出差、工作调动,接受更少人际交往的工作,为了工作牺牲自我实现,等等。改述Worstall的话:除非同等数量的男性和女性在相同职位工作,且工作时长相同、持续积累的工作经验相同、通勤时间等长、遭受相等数量的工亡等等,否则收入性别差距将一直存在。消除这一差距的唯一途径是实现两性在家庭和工作的角色中可以任意互换,然而要得到这一结果这几乎是不可能的;考虑到女士们目前所表现出的择业倾向,工作、通勤时长偏好,以及家庭责任,这是一个甚至女性自己都不乐见的结果。

翻译:eGregius (@eGregius)

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