Book Review: "Why Men Earn More"
National Review: Now, a Masterpiece By Loredana Vuoto "Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — And What Women Can Do About It," by Warren Farrell (Amacom, 288 pp., $23)
We’ve all seen the statistics that purport to show the raw deal women get in the workplace. But that raw deal simply doesn’t exist, writes Warren Farrell in this new book: It’s lifestyle choices, not gender identities, that determine salaries. If women choose more of the same professions as men, and follow similar career paths, they will earn salaries equal to those of their male counterparts. Even within the limits imposed by their choices, women’s comparative wages have made great progress in recent years. According to a 2003 GAO report, women earn 80 cents for every dollar a man makes — a significant increase from the 59 cents women earned compared with a man’s dollar back in the 1970s. But Farrell, author of such previous bestsellers as Why Men Are the Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power, focuses on the bigger sociological picture — contending that women actually earn the same as men if they have equal experience and qualifications, and are doing a similar job in identical working conditions. In fact, he contends that — despite the numerous lawsuits launched by women every year against their employers — women are not being discriminated against in the workforce: They are being victimized not by their employers, but by their own bad professional choices. Farrell’s extensive research is persuasive: Women generally earn less than men because they choose jobs that are more “fulfilling, flexible, and safe.” These jobs usually pay less. For example, the librarian with a graduate degree will earn less than a garbage collector who dropped out of high school. The same applies to the educated art historian working in a museum versus the uneducated coal miner working in a mine. The garbage collector and the coal miner get higher salaries because their work involves greater risk and less pleasant working conditions. Few workers are willing to accept the conditions in these blue-collar, male-oriented jobs — so employees willing to work in these fields are a more precious commodity than workers in lower-paying professions, including librarians and art historians. [...] For decades, feminists and Hollywood have perpetuated the myth that a woman can have it all — a successful, high-powered career, with time for a loving husband and children, all the while looking glamorous, sexy, and carefree. The reality, however, is that working women today are more stressed, overworked, and underappreciated than they were prior to the women’s liberation movement. Pursuing a career carries trade-offs and costs, which usually come at the expense of family and children. A similar dynamic holds true for women wishing to spend more time at home: The result will be less time and less productivity at the office. This book poignantly illustrates why feminism’s war on human nature is destined to fail: Instead of chasing the chimera of perfect wage parity between the sexes, women will continue to harbor the natural desire to be devoted mothers and wives.[Emphasis added.]