PopeWatch: Wage Disparity



The Pope spoke out against wage disparity between men and women this week:

In discussing the causes of family dissolution, Pope Francis said, “The Christian seed of radical equality between men and women must bring new fruits,” in our time. “The witness of the social dignity of marriage shall become persuasive,” he continued, “precisely by this way: the way of witness that attracts.” The Holy Father went on to say, “For this reason, as Christians, we must become more demanding in this regard: for example, [by] supporting with decision the right to equal retribution for equal work; disparity is a pure scandal.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch does not doubt that there are many nations in the world, most of them Islamic, where women are treated like dirt.  However, for the United States, the idea that there is a wage disparity between men and women performing equal work is simply not true.


Christina Hoff Sommers puts the lie to this myth:

MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.

FACTS: No matter how many times this wage gap claim is decisively refuted by economists, it always comes back. The bottom line: the 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant factors are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.

Wage gap activists say women with identical backgrounds and jobs as men still earn less. But they always fail to take into account critical variables. Activist groups like the National Organization for Women have a fallback position: that women’s education and career choices are not truly free—they are driven by powerful sexist stereotypes. In this view, women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.

Go here to read the rest.  One of the regrettable features of the current pontificate is that the Pope seems to thoughtlessly believe many shibboleths popular on the Left that are simply not true.  It is disturbing that the Pope pontificates in areas where he is clearly factually challenged.

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  1. In other news, a consortium of rabbits are protesting the unfairness of cougars, fox and bobcats allowed to have sharper teeth then they.

  2. “The Christian seed of radical equality between men and women must bring new fruits,”

    What does that even mean? Especially given the differences in the way that Christians mean equality and moderns do.

  3. The observable wage disparity is a function of domestic division of labor and the different balance of aims men and women have with regard to labor (especially married men and married women). One would think the Pope would appreciate that dimension of family life. He might, if he were not flypaper for the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary political discourse. The best we can hope for is that he shuffles off the scene before he can do any irreparable damage.

  4. “What does [‘radical equality between men and women’] even mean? Especially given the differences in the way that Christians mean equality and moderns do.”
    I think he’s referring to the idea that dignity and worth are inherent to all mankind, regardless of sex. In the Greco-Roman world, women were pretty much reduced to menials & sex-objects of one sort or another; wives & mothers being the “good” kind of sex object. The book to see is Kyle Harper’s. I believe Peter Brown’s review was the subject of a post here.
    That’s a radical idea. It still is in large parts of the world.

  5. I think he’s referring to the idea

    1. We do not really know, because Francis is perfectly rudderless.

    2. His stated concerns are banal and quite contemporary. I doubt he has the Classical world in mind.

  6. Given other opinions on the past, I question at times exactly how badly women were treated (at least, based upon the scale of men as well). Especially given that “he doesn’t love his wife and hates his mother” is an old accusation against enemies, particularly those of the out-tribe. But is it true? Like everyone believing they are above average drivers, if everyone believes it about everyone else, it seems to make it more likely to be untrue.

  7. I’ve had occasion to quote some period statistics to people who lived through a period, statistics which left them poleaxed. For example, one quarter of the wage and salaried workforce in 1930 was female; fully a third was in 1957. This was during an era when men retired in old age were a much slimmer slice of the population than today. Camille Paglia had an amusing story about conversing with Susan Faludi. Faludi was opinionated far in excess of her liberal education and professed, in this conversation, to believe that women were not taught to play musical instruments during the 19th century.
    We live softer and sweeter lives, now. I suspect it does not occur to the purveyors of feminist literature than harder and bitter lives was the lot of men as well as women because these purveyors are drawn disproportionately from the ranks of the vigorously self-centered and do not register the problems in living of the men in front of their noses (much less those four generations back).

  8. “to believe that women were not taught to play musical instruments during the 19th century.”

    The ignorance of History among the self anointed elite is often stunning. My daughter attends Monmouth College in Illinois that 150 years ago had an almost entirely female student body, having admitted women from its foundation in 1853. The male students enlisted as a body to fight in the Civil War in 1861, and any able bodied male attending the college while the War was being fought would quickly have been asked by members of the distaff student body why he wasn’t in uniform.

  9. The stupid, it burns.
    There are far more dire economic problems aside from abricated lies about so-called gender income inequality.

    For instance, the middle class is dying. In 1970 (President Nixon), 1 in 15 men aged 25-54 were not working, now (after six Obama famine years) it’s 1 in 6: Hope and Change!
    Another peace and justice/liberal/Obama economic miracle: Under Obama the U.S. Homeownership in Q1 (S&P 4/29/2015) was 63.7% down from 64.8% a year ago and far below the high which President Bush achieved in 2004 of 69.2%.
    It seems as if the progressive and peace and justice elites are creating more poor people to kneel before.

  10. The ‘middle class’ is not dying. The problem you’re referring to is sclerosis in labor markets conjoined to changes (and delays) in the education of youth. (The middle class has been ‘dying’ for about 35 years now, and the infrastructure has been crumbling as well).

    As for Faludi, she’s the issue of Harvard University. So is Barbara Ehrenreich, who gave up her scholarly work in biochemistry to write bad pop-market political economy. I don’t blame Faludi much for not knowing cultural history. I don’t either. However, one of my great great grandmothers was a … music teacher, which gives me an unfair advantage, I suppose. I blame Faludi for substituting her prejudices for what she didn’t know.

  11. I remember Rush Limbaugh’s books excoriating the likes of Eherenrich. I don’t remember if Rush skewered Faludi – it’s possible. The shelf life of the Left is far greater than it should be.

    Nothing has failed in this world as much as Leftist political attempts to create Paradise on Earth. Misery,destruction and death have always been the result and still the Left has its adherents.

    Juan Peron, the Roman Pontiff’s hero, was a fraud.

  12. And why not address the economics that require women and men both to work at the cost of their family time?

  13. And why not address the economics that require women and men both to work at the cost of their family time?

    ‘Economics’ does not require anything. It’s a positive social research discipline which describes a dimension of human behavior. You have two-earner couples because of the decisions people make in their matrix. You can influence those decisions with some adjustments to tax architecture. Latent in these discussions is the notion that you can generate a ‘family wage’ for every household through some sort of public policy hocus pocus (which usually involves promotion of trade unionism and state regulation of wages) and the notion that such was normal ca. 1955. A huge mass of working class women were doing shift work and the like in 1955. As for the bourgeois, most of the teachers I had in elementary school ca. 1970 were married women. You had more housewives then, but people also accepted lower living standards then as well.

  14. Art Deco wrote, “one of my great great grandmothers was a … music teacher.”

    My mother was born in 1907 and her first piano teacher (a woman) was a pupil of Clara Schumann (1819-1896)

  15. As a college student, belonging to the Catholic Students’ Union, we lustily sang “God save our Pope, the great the good….” Sadly my now dry mouth can only make guttural sounds.

  16. I don’t remember if Rush skewered Faludi – it’s possible. The shelf life of the Left is far greater than it should be.

    She was topical when he’d been nationally syndicated for about three years. Ehrenreich is more prolific (and, I suspect, cannier) than Faludi. The book with the greatest eclat was Backlash. One female opinion journalist glancing at it summarized it thus: “basically a conspiracy theory”. Jean Bethke Elshtain reviewing it offered that a glaring aspect of it was that Faludi herself seemed to have no conception that she operated in a public life in which there were competing claims and interests at stake. The major component of its thesis – that the media were participants in a campaign to shackle women – seemed absurd. She won awards for that absurd book.

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