During Tuesday's State of the Union, President Obama said women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. "That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment," he said to applause.
But it's not true, says Christina Hoff Sommers of The American Enterprise Institute. And she said this in the most unlikely place -- The Daily Beast.
In her article for The Beast, Sommers is embarrassed by the president for widely broadcasting such a "discredited factoid," one that non-fact-checking Americans will simply take as gospel. Sommers says:
The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full time.
This does not account for the differences across many factors, including occupations, education or weekly work hours. Sommers says after you take these and others into consideration, the wage gap actually narrows to about 5 cents. That is not something that is going to soundbite as well for the president, so he just ignores the truth.
The most glaring difference between men and women are their college majors. Men choose majors like Petroleum Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Mining and Mineral Engineering. Women choose Counseling Psychology, Early Childhood Education, and Visual and Performing Arts. Sommers says the wage gap falls flat from this factor alone:
Much of the wage gap can be explained away by simply taking account of college majors. Early childhood educators and social workers can expect to earn around $36,000 and $39,000, respectively. By contrast, petroleum engineering and metallurgy degrees promise median earnings of $120,000 and $80,000.
Simply put, men and women like different things and their chosen fields reflect this. So why would the president not consider this obvious distinction? Because of politics, of course.
Organizations like the National Organization for Women apply political pressure to "convince" the world that there are "powerful sexist stereotypes" shepherding men and women towards different occupations. Preaching a gospel of choice for women, they blithely disrespect women who choose occupations that reflect their more caring sex - even when they are amongst the most educated women in history. Sommers says this type of thinking is "divorced from reality - and demeaning to boot." Really, it is sexist.
No one argues that women are incapable of succeeding in the fields of engineering or computer science. The evidence plainly shows that women are not all that interested in those jobs. And because of a perceived war on women, hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars have been spent attempting to draft women into these careers - all waste. Yet the president himself insists that this discrimination is real. Perhaps he should start changing things at home before he demands change from America.
To hold Obama to his own standard, one only needs to look at the war that in fact is being waged against his female staffers. Sommers points to a chart showing that the female staff at the White House only earns 88 cents for every dollar compared to the male staff. Interesting isn't it? It is wrong, and in 2014, it is an embarrassment.