Forbes Should Inform Women, Not Convince Them They Are Victims
Over on Forbes.com, Jenna Goudreau writes about top paying occupations for women: a list that includes pharmacists, computer scientists, doctors and surgeons, financial managers, and human resource specialists. It’s a fairly upbeat article which provides helpful information about some of the sectors that women might want to focus on, if earning more money is their goal.
But throughout the article Goudreau repeats the presumption that there is a “gap” between what men and women earn, even in these top professions for women. She writes “women’s earnings remain stalled at around 80% of men’s” without noting any of the reasons why they have “stalled.” In fact, the main reason for the gap between men and women’s earnings is that women make different choices than men do about work: women take on different jobs, take more time out of the workforce, and spend less time at work than do men. By just making that statement without offering any explanation, she allows readers to assume that this is just evidence of discrimination and a system stacked against women.
Instead of just regurgitating misleading Department of Labor data, Gourdreau might have discussed some of the tradeoffs that workers face when they seek more earnings. She might have also mentioned that there are many jobs in which women earn more than men do for equal work. Dr. Warren Farrell’s book, Why Men Earn More, includes a table of 26 occupations in which women with bachelor’s degrees received higher starting salaries than men. This list includes investment banking (mergers & acquisitions), in which women’s starting salaries were 116 percent of men’s, fundraising (116%), dietician (130%), and portfolio management/brokerage (110%).
Or better yet, she could have simply nixed the gratuitous men vs. women comparison entirely. After all, the purpose of the article is supposed to be informing women about potential high-paying jobs, not making them feel like victims.