Letters to the Editor

Bolton letter: Gender pay gap

Gayle Wilde’s letter regarding the gender pay gap was puzzling. Childless, college-educated women under 30 are actually paid more than demographically identical men.

Sexism isn’t the gap’s cause. It’s women’s freedom to make lifestyle choices.

Women tend to choose lower-paying careers. They pick teaching and day care over chemical engineering (STEM) and oil field work. Even as doctors they tend to enter the lower-paid categories (GPs and pediatricians) rather than higher-paid specialties demanding longer hours.

Studies show that men, on average, work 10 percent more (overtime, nights and weekends, etc.) than women. This alone cuts the $.77 vs. $1 gap we hear about almost in half. Men work more to afford growing families. Women work less to deal with the kids. Women often leave the workforce for a number of years when having kids and upon returning need time to ramp back up. The extra hours and longer continuous service make men, on average, more attractive when promotions come up. Women are also more likely to turn down promotions if it involves longer hours or moving away from a husband’s higher-paying career.

Instead of falsely blaming sexism, let’s celebrate that women are free to make lifestyle choices.

Chris Bolton, Meridian

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