04/05/2017

No, Ivanka Trump, Equal Pay Day Is Not A Rallying Cry

Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media

On Tuesday, women and men across America commemorate "Equal Pay Day," which purportedly represents how far into 2017 women must continue working in order to earn what their male counterparts earned last year. But the claim that women experience pay discrimination is tenuous at best — the 79 cents on the dollar statistic applies to all men and all women, not a true side-by-side comparison of pay for equal work — and government is more likely to cause more problems if employed to fix the "gender gap."

Still, people from across the political spectrum promoted Equal Pay Day.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein declared, "In 1963, women earned $0.59 for every $1 earned by men. In 2017, women earn $0.79 for every $1 earned by men. We must do more."

LeanIn.org even launched a "#20PercentCounts" campaign, partnering with businesses across the country to provide women a 20 percent discount on everyday items. The ride-sharing service Lyft even announced that it would be donating 20 percent of ride proceeds on April 4 to organizations for women.

Women aren't the only ones calling for equal pay. Delaware Senator Chris Coons suggested that Congress should pass equal pay legislation on April 4

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka declared that "#EqualPayDay is not a celebration, it's a reminder of how imbalances in our economy cause real pain. Even more for women of color."

Even the X-Men star Hugh Jackman jumped on board, tweeting, "#20 percent counts Equal pay for women - today and every day. #LeanIn."

But just as men joined with women to promote the equal pay argument, many women actually disagreed.

"Feminist groups, Democratic lawyers, and individuals like Sheryl Sandberg, who launched #20PercentCounts retail campaign to offer discounts to women on Equal Pay Day, continue to rely on the faulty wage-gap statistic to trick women into thinking America is overwhelmingly sexist and they are doomed to being consistently shortchanged compared to their male counterparts," Carrie Lukas, managing director at the Independent Women's Forum, declared in a statement.

Lukas noted "data proving otherwise," an homage to the argument that the real reasons women make less than men have more to do with lifestyle choices than wage discrimination.

As Andrew Biggs and Mark Perry, economists and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, pointed out in an article for RealClearMarkets, "The reality is that men and women make very different career and work choices, and frequently play very different family roles, especially for families with children. These choices reasonably account for most of gender differences in earnings and don't point toward widespread gender pay discrimination in the workplace."

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