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WaPo: Wage gap is ‘a bargain’

April 6, 2007

Did you know that making less money than men is a good thing? Oh, you like paying the bills and feeding your kids? Well don’t fret, Carrie Lukas is here to set you straight!

Lukas, the vice president of the anti-feminist organization the Independent Women’s Forum, has a column in today’s Washington Post assuring women that the wage gap is “a bargain.” No seriously, she swears.

Yes, the Labor Department regularly issues new data comparing the median wage of women who work full time with the median wage of men who work full time, and women’s earnings bob at around three-quarters those of men. But this statistic says little about women’s compensation and the influence of discrimination on men’s and women’s earnings. All the relevant factors that affect pay — occupation, experience, seniority, education and hours worked — are ignored. This sound-bite statistic fails to take into account the different roles that work tends to play in men’s and women’s lives.

Lukas goes on to note how throughout her 10 year career she’s “made things other than money a priority.” You know, like babies and “good woman” stuff.

I sought out a specialty and employer that seemed best suited to balancing my work and family life. When I had my daughter, I took time off and then opted to stay home full time and telecommute. I’m not making as much money as I could, but I’m compensated by having the best working arrangement I could hope for.

Now, something tells me that Lukas–who has a BA from Princeton and a MA from Harvard, btw–probably isn’t struggling. (In fact, I’m on a mission to find out her salary if anyone wants to help a sister out.) But that’s not the point. What is the point is that Lukas is full of shit.

She argues that the wage gap exists because women “choose” to make less money by taking time off or working in jobs for “personal fulfillment” over pay. (Because there’s nothing fulfilling about making money, I guess.)

But in fact, last year on Equal Pay Day, The Washington Post ran an article debunking nonsense theories like Lukas’:

So let’s just get this straight right now, says [economist Evelyn] Murphy: That 23-cent differential is not because some women take time off to give birth or raise children. The pay-gap figure measures only women and men who work full time, for a full year. It does not include women who took time off during the year or worked part time.

But don’t tell that to Lukas, her oh-so-unimportant paycheck depends on convincing people that sexism is actually good for women.

And if you have any lingering doubts about Lukas’ agenda, I’ll leave you with these gems from her recently published book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism:

Careers can be baby-deniers.

Research shows that women still tend to prefer men who are breadwinners…who they can consider intellectually superior.

“Baby-deniers.” Nuff said.

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