The truth about why women earn less than men

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When I first heard the statement that women are paid less than men I found it very hard to believe. We were told that women get paid less for doing the same work which simply didn’t make any sense to me at all. A male nurse with the same qualifications as a female nurse and the same amount of years on the job should (all things being equal) get paid exactly the same.

As a high school teacher I was paid exactly the same as John who was hired the same day as me. We were both so good in our interview for the English teacher position that the Principal and the HOD of English could not decide which of us should get the job. In the end they gave it to both of us.

Today if I taught in the same school as John he would be paid a lot more than me because he did not leave to have children and he now has many more years experience and has no doubt taken many courses to improve on his skills. That to me is not inequality. I could be earning the same as him if I had chosen to put my children into daycare or had chosen to not have any children.

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The reality is that more men than women go into higher paid fields.

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If women want to get higher pay they need to take the same subjects men take.

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It is all about choice. I chose to disrupt my career. I made the decision to be a full time mother because I valued having a full time mother when I was a kid. A dear friend made a different choice to me and as a result she has a really high income and she deserves it. Her  sacrifices were different to mine but no less difficult. Both of us made the right choice. We made the choice that suited us individually.



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Helen Clark was able to achieve all that she achieved because she was childless. Being childless puts women on an equal footing with men. The reality is that mothers who work have double the workload whereas fathers who work ( unless they are Solo Dads) do not. I think being able to have children is pretty amazing and special. I don’t regret my choices one little bit.


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  • Peter

    Maybe raising children and equipping them as best you can to be productive members of society and live full and happy lives is more important than any career job ..

    • 10cents

      I absolutely agree with you, however choosing that direction isn’t evidence of some kind of sinister plot to deny woman what they have rightfully earned.

  • Martin

    Thanks for saying this. My wife and I are helping to close the gender pay gap, but it is mostly because from a young age I recognised that trying to impress women with earnings just made me vulnerable to parasitation by someone who the legal system would force me to pay for a house I wasn’t allowed to live in where she would live with my kids and the gym instructor she would take off with when she felt bored by my spending all my time at work.
    If the gender wage gap is closing it is in part due to this kind of socialist race to the bottom.
    It is refreshing to see a woman acknowledge this myth of gender wage gap – it was debunked 40 years ago but it is still breathlessly reported as gospel truth.

  • KatB

    Good piece. I wished that more people understood what the reality is when they talk about inequality of women’s wages. People immediately think it’s comparing apples with apples but like you’ve pointed out it’s not. I too had a stay at home Mum, which I really appreciated and thanks to my hard working husband, I too can be a stay at home Mum for our kids. I wish we’d stop hearing celebrities talking about “having it all”. I don’t think you can have it all and to suggest so, just puts pressure on women. If Mums decide/have to go back to work, they miss out on the day to day things, school events with their kids, if Mums decide to stay home, you put jobs prospects on hold. It’s all about what works for you, but there are sacrifices on both sides and nobody, even celebrities have it all. Now if we could just realise there’s more value to some jobs than just money.

  • Hill16

    Hear hear. My view of feminism is that it’s about choice for women …. And people will make the choice that is right for them at the time, dependent on personal experience, circumstances, pragmatism etc.
    I’m glad that I was in the position to take a year off after I had my son, and then could ease back into work, doing a 3 day week, then back to 4 days, and now full time.
    It has lowered my earning potential, and limited the jobs/contracts I will take (self employed IT contractor, so am not in the position to stay late with no notice due to daycare pick ups etc) … But that comes with the choice I made to have a child.
    Part of our modern problem is the wealth of choice available to us …. With all that choice comes the opportunity cost of the choices not taken. If we can be contented with our choices taken and especially our choices not taken, we will be doing fine…and not worrying about everything being ‘equal’

  • Wasapilot

    All this talk of unequal pay for the same work, glass ceilings etc has me puzzled.

    I worked in a firm that had 2500 staff. People were paid and promoted on their merits. As an example, several ago we had our annual intake of grads. There were four males and one female that came into our unit. After 3 years, the female was paid more than the males, why, because she was better than them, not just techically but attidudinally as well.

    The guys were good, she was great, and as good as I have ever seen, so she was rewarded for who she was and what she did, nothing to do with gender.

  • NZ_Stormer

    What you are saying is that to achieve full pay equity will result in pay inequality for men and those women who chose full time careers

  • RightofSingapore

    Yeah but the Feminist harpies want to keep pushing the narrative of inequality because they have invested too much in it to simply acknowledge reality, don’t confuse them with your “facts” and “reasoning” those are just ways for the “patriarchy” to maintain its “dominance” rah rah rah. They would say how convenient it is that the higher paying jobs are male dominated and more suited to males, they would see that as evidence of “war on women” and “patriarchy” blah blah blah

    • Martin

      I’ve always found an effective way to counter the argument that “feminism is just about equality” is to point out that 50% more females than males go on to tertiary training in New Zealand, then ask: “when do you ever hear women voicing concern about that gross inequality?” “Would it be a problem if it were the other way round?”
      At best you get a mumbled “finding a new balance” argument to the effect that some equality is more equal than others.

  • Huia

    If I was employing again now, I guess I would have to think long and hard about employing a young woman who is likely to be going on maternity leave in the near future.
    A lot of business’s cannot afford, or, be in a position to support this even though they would love to. Young mums, no matter how good they are at the job, require extra time off because of child related issues, that is a fact.
    There is also the other more delicate side of life based around a womans cycle. A lot of women have no issues at all, but some unfortunate women do suffer badly and require a couple or three days off (always at a busy time). Then there are the ones who do use this as an excuse for a couple of days off, I have had girls working for me do this, they would then be seen sunbathing on the beach or walking around the mall.
    These extra days off don’t happen when you employ males of course, but it all has to be taken into consideration when employing.
    I believe most employers would pay what the person is worth individually, not base it on gender.
    I have a daughter in a very high paying career, she has worked darned hard and extremely long hours to be on the salary rate she is, which, happens to be more than others in her team including the males.
    She is worth more because she has does the hard yards, not because she is a woman.

    • mixedblood

      I agree with you Huia, but let’s not forget the numbers of men who are absent due to non work related injuries (ie sport) some of whom can be on ACC for 3 months or more. In comparison, 3 days per luna is an attractive option. Also, in my experience, women are less hard on equipment.

  • Hobbes

    I think that if men paid their spouses/partners a fair hourly rate for the work they did as Mothers and housekeepers then any gender pay inequality would be reversed.

    • Peter

      Well in a single income family don’t the men ‘pay’ the women by giving over their income to the family.?

    • Miss Phit

      In joint income house holds dont the value of both salaries get added together and spent for “the greater good”, so in effect when one partner takes time off for some reason the household income drops. The non paid partner doesnt cease to eat/breath/spend etc. Maybe the one partner staying at home in a support role is so the other can earn the big buck to keep them “both” in a manner they like.

      Its all statistics and lies. Comparing apples with oranges and oranges to bolts – it doesnt work.

    • jonno1

      You’ve hit on a key issue, namely that a couple may choose to adopt different roles, eg my wife was a stay-at-home mum (as are our daughters/in-laws as it happens). This enables the ‘working’ spouse, usually but not always the husband, to concentrate on their career without distraction, and thereby bring home the bacon (apologies for mentioning bacon, just had some for lunch). It’s a partnership, so who earns what is irrelevant. Once the kids were older my wife started up a couple of home-based businesses, which paid for our regular overseas trips and other non-essentials.

    • RealKiwi

      Please forgive me for taking from your comment(s) that having children is a concern to you and maybe others, and if having children is a concern why have them?

      It seems from what you are saying is that there should be some benchmarked salary package for women who procreate.

      Another thing I find fascinating is that you imply that there is a prevailing culture of
      one directional selfishness?

      I am not aware of this myself and by the way I work F.I.F.O (Fly In Fly Out) roster in Australia and most of my workmates are married men with young families and they
      ensure their partners are comfortable and they work as a team, sharing financial decisions. It is hard going working a four weeks on one week off roster on young
      Families and they talk about it.
      To suggest a lack of appreciation or selfishness on behalf of breadwinners as a rule is
      ill informed or worse.
      What I get from your post is let’s parlay motherhood into cash by playing the victim card dealt off the bottom of the deck.

  • This whole gender gap nonsense is just the socialists in action again. It has nothing to do with closing the gap between men and women and everything to do with ensuring everybody earns the same regardless of worth, risk or merit or achievement.

    These commies won’t be happy until a cleaner earns the same as an airline pilot and a nurse makes as much as a mining engineer.

    No different to when the stinking socialists introduced pay parity between primary and secondary teachers, the instant it came into affect the secondary teachers went on strike for higher pay based on more years of training and higher qualifications.

    The feminazis are in cloud cuckoo land again.

  • jimknowsall

    Also take a look at workplace deaths. It’s something like 99% men. You’d hardly expect equality of pay between doing unpleasant and dangerous jobs, and cushy office jobs.

    • David Moore

      Odd isn’t it? Feminists cry for more women on boards, but not more women offshore fishing, scaffolding or in forestry.

  • jimknowsall

    The equal pay statistics are so full of holes, lies and wilful misrepresentation that it’s embarrassing that people still bang on about the issue. Comparisons are made which are wholly inappropriate. In the worst cases, it is “lifetime earnings” which are compared. Feminazis complain that women earn less over their lifetime than men, ignoring that women take time out to have kids, or that in many countries, the retirement age for women is lower than men. As if that’s some kind of discrimination! Sure is…in favour of women!

    Then you hear arguments along the lines of why predominantly female nurses are paid less than predominantly male investment bankers and that it’s all some misogynist plot. No it’s not. It’s just capitalism. If you want to earn more, switch to a higher paying career. Can’t or won’t do that? …you’ve just discovered why those jobs pay the most.

    Men and women in NZ are paid the same for the same job, because that’s the law! Any discrimination is easily found out and would be very costly for an employer. If it were actually cheaper to hire women, employers would exploit this to fund a cheaper workforce and an advantage over their competitors.
    You’ll also hear that part time work should be paid the same as full time on the basis that such a practice discriminates against women. This completely disregards the fact that a) flexibility is highly valued and b) pay increases exponentially for the highest performers. This is most obvious when looking at sports stars. Plenty of “OK” soccer players, but clubs pay ludicrous amounts for the best. In most jobs, to be the best, you put in long hours and are highly skilled, not part time with your focus elsewhere.

    ALL the apparent wage gap is due to job choice and other individual preferences.

  • oldmanNZ

    you know, its not all about money. looking after and seeing your kids grows is well worth more than the high paying career sometimes, some men would kindly swap jobs with a women.

    the only ones I see that are really complain is the women with no kids doing simple jobs.

  • David Moore

    If there really was a wage gap, you could employ all women and save 23% on your wage bill and clean up.

  • Brian Dingwall

    You, a business owner, discover that the “gender pay gap” is 23% (or whatever the number is). Do you:

    a) Immediately move to gain competitive advantage by hiring more women in place of more expensive men, moving your labour/salary cost structures down by that 23%, or

    b) blog about the difference to ensure all your competitors can also take advantage, or

    c) publish an academic paper showing how this illustrates inequality and unfairness.

    Any theory that requires the players to have acted totally irrationally (and illegally) needs a second look.

    • jimknowsall

      Indeed. Nicely put. Which is why feminists use a wilfully misleading headline about pay inequality to further what they actually want, which is the same pay for doing different work (but which they have unilaterally decided is “equivalent”), being compensated for looking after children, and having career breaks regarded as if they had no impact on your work experience compared to men.

  • Mark

    Is there a link to the website these stats came from?