What’s really going on with the 77cents to every dollar pay gap?


Let’s be clear: women who push for higher pay and greater power in the workplace are often met with far greater resistance to those two wants than men. Got it? Alpha woman are hard to come by. The workplaces allows women to work; in fact, woman starting out are often given preference in certain jobs to men in the hire game. But that all ends as we move up the pay and experience ladder. But one statistic, a statistic that we’ve put on our home page—the 77% stat—is only a glimpse into the whole story. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn is true, and because, the male/female power disparity holds to the great degree it does in the workforce, we cite this 77% statistic in an ongoing fashion. But as to almost every story, there is nuance, it’s time to parse that a bit.

The Wall Street Journal, did some of that parsing fairly well in an item titled: “In Equal Pay Debate, Disparity Is in the Details.”

Here are some of those nuances that are worth noting:

When certain things are controlled for, the 77% stat changes, sometimes dramatically.

For example: When hours worked are made same things change. For “women and men who have a 40-hour work week, the gap narrows to 88 cents for women for each $1 earned by men.”

THAT is STILL Bad, but it’s important to make this distinction.

Folks on shift work that requires higher ed, make far more similar salaries. For example: “female pharmacists….make 92% of what men do.” The WSJ points out that this profession doesn’t pressure for longer work hours, or penalized women who leave the job force for maternity leaves.

The stats for women in law and finance, where supposedly long work hours are the deal breaker, the numbers again widen. Women lawyers make 83% of what their male counterparts make; and XX women in managerial positions make only 75% of what men do in that position. Ouch!

As the WSJ pointed out in their article: women who staff the White House, make 88 cents for every dollar men make. Oddly and not, when this pay gap was pointed out to Obama Admin, who have waged political war against Reds on the 77% statistic, said:

Here are some items to read regarding the deeper dig in the 77% issue.

From Politifact:

The Institute for Women’s Policy research looked at pay parity for the top 20 occupations for women in 2011 using median weekly earnings. The center found the pay gap varied depending on the sector, though women lag in nearly every category. Nurses (96 cents for every dollar) and cashiers (90 cents) were closer than most; accountants (77 cents) and financial advisers (66 cents) were more divergent than most.

And WaPo’s Factchecker

The president must begin to acknowledge that “77 cents” does not begin to capture what is actually happening in the work force and society.

The article shows that higher-paying high-skilled STEM jobs are dominated by men, whereas women dominate the field of lowest paying college majors lead to jobs such as theater arts and early childhood education, that require far less technical skill.

What is Rich in Bullshit is that when Obama is called out on pay disparity that exists in the White House –something like 88cents to women, for every buck a male White House staffer makes, the Administration says, hey don’t judge us by the same measure that are used to come up the 77% stat, --you need to look in a job-specific way to get a real measure of differences.

But as Politifact pointed out, Obama endlessly uses the 77% stat to punch Republicans, as if his own White House were not as guilty of pay disparity as the marketplace.

So all said, if Democrats start using the 77% number in a way to make political war, you can be sure they don’t give a rat’s ass about the things that really drive pay disparity: a dislike of female power that extends to both parties and will require a seismic shift in cultural attitudes about acceptable roles for women.

Obama has flat out lied to America women, saying as he campaigned in 2012 and onward that “paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.”

As Factcheck.org points out, this is untrue:

“we wrote in 2012, that’s the median (midpoint) for all women in all jobs, not for women doing “the same work” or even necessarily working the same number of hours.”

So, achooo! The detail is in the devil. Obama, as is his wont, lied to women when he said the same work left women with only 77% of what men make. That is bullshit.

But for now, FemiSex is leaving the overall 77% stat on our homepage, because the power divide is so raw and real, and the numbers so nuanced that we need to keep our eyes on the prize: women being paid the same for equal work and hours, in equal professions with equal education and ….most importantly to allow women to hold positions of power in far far greater numbers.

We don't and won't use it as a political tool, because the moment we do is the moment you can be sure we've stopped really caring about female equality and entered a zero-sum game in which women will be the losers if this is attached to a political agenda.


Here's a good article from

Here's a good article from Huffington Post about the wage gap.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.