I have been looking at the book reviews for Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Earn More” , when a found this link, posted by a critic of the book:
It says that the wage gap continues to exist, even if you control for a lot of factors. The executives of the companies researched were dismayed at the results, especially since they “poured massive resources into erasing these discrepancies over the past decade”. There have been many studies on the wage gap, and some of them say it disappears when you control for self-inflicted factors that the earner could avoid. Some others say the wage gap is still there. I’m not sure what to believe, but I can believe this: whether you are hired or not, can depend on factors that have nothing to do with your skills. Physically attractive and tall people are treated better than less attractive and shorter people, in many, many ways. From “Survival of the Prettiest” by Nancy Etcoff:
“Good-looking men are more likely to get hired, at a higher salary, and to be promoted faster than unattractive men”
“Good-looking women, like good-looking men, are more likely to be hired and to receive higher salaries. But this is not always true. A few studies show that good-looking women actually fare worse than plainer women and that good looks in a woman can “backfire”. In one study, good-looking women were less likely to be made a partner in a law firm, in another they were less likely to be hired for managerial positions.”
“When people are asked to approach a stranger and stop when they no longer feel comfortable, they will stop about two feet away from a tall person (22,7 inches to be exact), but less than a foot (9,8 inches) from a short person. Very attractive people of any size are given big personal territories”
People don’t treat other people like blank slates that can be filled with their character and skills, as they get to know them better. So which bias could account for the wage gap? The article says this:
1) “Research shows we tend to like people like ourselves. Men will feel a connection to men, and because men dominate the leadership realm, their stereotypical leadership qualities will trickle down.”
So since most company-starters are men, they hire other men.
2) Another bias I can think of may come from women’s tendency to have more sick days, and also maternity leave. All these gender differences in behavior no doubt color the perception employers have about the individual women.
This really isn’t fair for any individual woman, especially a hard-working smart one, one that is prepared to do everything Warren Farrell recommends in his book. So, what to do about it?
One could, of course, make a bunch of laws, forcing the companies (which some innovative people made with their own effort, btw) to hire more women and pay them the same for equal work (something which is hard to define). I think it’s morally wrong, and an attack on freedom, and according to the article, it’s not even working.
So what would work against these biases?
1) First, more women would have to start their own companies. If employers like to hire people like themselves, more women would be hired and favored in other ways.
2) Women as a group would need to start behaving as men, as a group. Then a woman acting like a man (following all bullet points in Warren Farrell’s book) would be expected, rather than surprising, and she would be more likely to be treated like a man.
I believe that even the most hard-working, smart, risk-taking women may not reach wealth equal to that of their male equivalents, because bias number 2 is bringing them down. Until all women start acting like men, they will lag.
That is not to say that women are bringing women down. We can’t force women to act like men, nor is it desirable on a large scale. A “manly” woman is gonna act manly, and less manly women will do their own thing, nothing to do about that, it’s their life.
Rather, the success of an individual woman depends on the performance of all other women, because their performance affects everyone’s perception of her. And a woman won’t hire her because there aren’t enough females bothering to become employers.