Evelyn Murphy


Statisticians point out that women do not yet have quite as many years’ experience in the workforce as men have. It’s true that for the generation that began working in the 1960s, fewer women than men have a steady forty or fifty years of on-the-job experience. So maybe there should be a gap of a few pennies (at most!) to reflect that slight disadvantage. But not 23 cents’ worth! Social scientists hedge their conclusions about what causes that broad gap with disclaimers. They acknowledge that biases exist in their measurements. They admit that they cannot say for sure that differences between women and men in what’s called “merit” — education, experience, and other personal capital — add up to 23 cents. But despite the absence of rock-hard proof, this explanation has been accepted. Instead of demanding an immediate end to the wage gap, most Americans believe that it’s closing slowly, at an evolutionary pace, moving women penny by penny toward equality.



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