Despite 'Equal Pay Day,' the gender wage gap doesn’t exist

Today, the United States celebrates Equal Pay Day. Started by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996, the April date is meant to symbolize how far into the new year women must work to earn what their male counterparts did in the previous year. The day is also always held on a Tuesday to “represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men did in the previous week.”

Across the country, businesses are using the day as an opportunity to offer symbolic discounts, such as a 20 percent discount to signify the 20 percent pay gap between men and women, or a 13.51 percent discount to signify the “pink tax” levied on women’s products like toiletries and clothing. Ending unequal pay has been loudly supported by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Amy Schumer. However, these efforts are all going to a nonexistent issue. The differences in pay can be attributed to a variety of factors that have nothing to do with gender itself.

Statistics like women earning “77 cents on the dollar” compared to men do not account for the differences in pay for jobs that tend me to be male or female dominated. Of course, if we compare the salary of a female teacher to that of a male account executive it will appear that women make less money, but the driving factor is not their gender, it is their profession. Given this, not only is the concept of “equal pay day” insulting to working women, it wastes resources and takes away from opportunities to advocate for genuine women’s issues, such as domestic abuse.

The discussion of equal pay is not a new one. President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Law in 1963, making it illegal to pay women less than men for the same job. Still, for decades, activists have been bemoaning the alleged pay disparity, certain that it is a result of rampant sexism preventing women from accessing the same professional opportunities.

However, when examining men and women of the same age and educational background in similar positions, it was actually found that women earned more than 97 percent as much as their male counterparts. While that 3 percent may be a result of unfair prejudice or sexist bosses and warrants acknowledgment, it paints a much different picture than the apparent wage gap crisis that warrants a national holiday.

When significant wage gaps do exist, the largest contributing factors are lifestyle choices, not gender.

When significant wage gaps do exist, the largest contributing factors are lifestyle choices, not gender. The highest paying jobs are often those that require long, inflexible hours. These are often the types of jobs taken by those who usually do not have caregiver responsibilities outside of the workplace --- usually men. This helps explain why lawyers, known for their long hours and high pay, have a large gender wage gap but pharmacists, also high-paying but with more consistent hours, do not. Men also disproportionately make up the majority of fields that have associated safety risks but high pay, such as logging, working in oil fields, or construction.

Making the choice to have a child also significantly impacts a woman’s pay. The associated time off, or even the decision to stop working while children are in school, results in a massive drop-off in lifetime earnings.

Women with children earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts over the course of their career. However, this is not a result of rampant sexism, but instead a result of personal tradeoffs made by the mothers in question. Childless women have earnings on par with men’s salaries. While this “mother penalty” may seem unfair, it is a direct result of biology and choice, and not a result of sexism in the workplace.

It is extremely insulting to think that women need to rely on additional legislation to succeed professionally.

The concept of “equal pay day” contributes to sexism by promoting the idea that women cannot succeed on their own, and it’s spreading a dangerous systemic mindset that women need assistance to get ahead: even women studying at Harvard believe that they are being set up for lower wages. Despite already having the law behind them, women enter the workforce with a preconceived notion that no matter how hard they work, they will not be able to “catch up” to their male counterparts.

This does not align with the feminist and pro-female mentality that Equal Pay Day claims to embody. In a country where women are more likely than men to get a college degree, it is extremely insulting to think that women need to rely on additional legislation to succeed professionally.

By raising awareness of a nonexistent issue, Equal Pay Day is not only promoting a defeatist attitude among women, it is taking away resources from issues that truly affect women and deserve national attention --- sexual assault and domestic abuse, for example. While the Equal Pay Law was reasonable to institute in 1963, it’s time to stop pretending that sexism is the reason for the difference in pay, and look instead to the issues that are truly driven by sexism and hate.

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Rachel Tripp is a Young Voices contributor and writes about liberty from Washington, DC. Opinions presented here belong solely to the author.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!