A Wrong and Wrong-Headed Look at the Wage Gap

Aug 19, 2010

Yesterday, Brad Peck posted a piece on ChamberPost about the wage gap between men and women. There is a lot that I don't like about the piece. It is simplistic and misguided. Even worse, I find it very, very old fashioned. "Women still face challenges at work because of their own work-life choices", blah, blah, blah. It is an argument from the 1960's.

The trouble that it is an argument that doesn't explain a whole bunch of bad things. Why, for example, does the number of Fortune 500 women CEO's and senior managers seem to have topped out? That is a truth that impacts a whole bunch of women who have made a wide variety of work-life choices. It certainly isn't an outcome one would predict if all companies were really the "equal opportunity" (let alone "equal outcome") workplaces that Brad implies that they are. The "glass ceiling" is real and simply blaming it on women's work-life choices is ridiculous.

There is also a lot of good evidence that women make great entrepreneurs. Shouldn't that tell us something? Why is it that a large number of large, institutional environments don't work for women -- but ones they create for themselves do?

The bottom line is that I found Brad's post to be both wrong and wrong-headed. Luckily, as the COO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce my opinion on these matters counts a lot more than his does when it comes to Chamber policy and operations.

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