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Talking Points: Why Do Women Make 82 Cents for Every Dollar a Man Earns?

1. Because women are more likely to choose liberal-arts majors in college: While men

are more likely to choose majors in the high-demand, high-paying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, women are more likely to choose liberal-arts majors-such as literature and linguistics-that may be more fulfilling, but lead to less pay. A British study, cited by Warren Farrell in his book Why Men Earn More, concluded that the choice of major potentially accounts for 88 percent of the wage gap in Britain. Even taking any differences between the British and American labor markets into account, the choice of major still accounts for a significant portion of the wage gap in America.
2. Because women are more likely to choose careers that offer better working

conditions: Women are more likely to choose careers that offer safer, more comfortable working conditions, as well as better hours. For example, you are more likely to find a woman working 9-to-5 as a secretary in an air-conditioned office than working the overnight shift at the local factory. As a result of the relationship between employers demand for these comfortable jobs and the high supply of individuals willing to fill them, these jobs tend to command lower wages. By contrast, men are more likely to choose careers that offer uncomfortable-and even dangerous-working conditions and undesirable hours. Because of the working conditions of these positions, employers have a difficult time filling them. As a result, these jobs tend to command higher wages. Sadly, it also means that men account for 9 out of every 10 jobrelated deaths.
3. Because women, on average, work fewer hours than men: Men, on average, tend to

spend more time at work. As a result, they earn higher pay. In Why Men Earn More, Warren Farrell cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that the average person working 45 hours per week earns 44 percent more than the average person working 40 hours per week. Next, Farrell cites additional data, which shows that the average man works three hours more per week than the average woman (45 hours per week for men vs. 42 hours per week for women). Putting these two sets of data together (that people who work more hours earn more, and that men work more hours than women), Farrell concludes that the hoursworked gap potentially accounts for 70 percent of the wage gap.

4. Because women spend more time out of the workforce: Women tend to take more time

out of the workforce in order to raise their children. In doing so, they are spending time away from work, time they could have used to build their skills and work experience, and thus earn more pay. As Warren Farrell states in Why Men Earn More: What price does a woman typically pay for a workplace leave? The first year back she experiences about a 33% wage loss in comparison to the person who did not take the leave. Even after three to five years back, she takes a 20% loss. Obviously, for jobs that require sophisticated technological skills, the loss is greater. -Warren Farrell, Why Men Earn More