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Letters to the Editors

No pay gap, research shows

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2000


Editor: Re: Jan Glidewell's May 9 column The value of work can't be measured by gender:

The column was quite amusing, but it only serves to propagate the pay gap myth.

Unfortunately, activists tout intentionally misleading statistics about a pay gap between the sexes to incite women. For a long time now, most people have agreed that gender-based discrimination is wrong, which is why there already are laws on the books to protect women in the workplace and to ensure equal pay (the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act).

The 75-cent statistic might lead some to believe these laws simply don't work. But the figure used to demonstrate discrimination is simply the ratio of men's to women's average annual earnings. It does not account for many relevant economic factors that affect wage determination, such as experience and tenure, years and type of education, hours of work, and industry and occupation, which all can differ considerably between the sexes.

In fact, our research shows there is no pay gap among full-time workers ages 21 to 35 who live alone, and there is a pay gap of only 3 percent among full-time workers ages 21 to 35 who are married but have no children. As early as 1971, never-married women in their 30s who had worked continuously earned slightly higher incomes than their male counterparts. What these data show is that in our society, women still tend to be primary caregivers and as such, often take some time away from work to have and care for their children. They also tend to gravitate toward jobs that can accommodate their family responsibilities, which means jobs with regular hours, flexible schedules, etc.

What proponents of pay equity don't tell you is their solution to the "problem." They would eliminate the role of the free market in setting wages and replace it with a system run by bureaucrats who would value all jobs based on their subjective views of the societal worth of positions. Points would be assigned to all jobs, then pay would be equalized for those in supposedly underpaid jobs that also happen to be dominated by women.

Attention would be better focused on helping working parents balance work and family, which is a legitimate issue that needs careful consideration.
-- Anita Hattiangadi,Washington, D.C.

Uninformed neighbors are Spring Hill's problem

Editor: Re: Undesirables are trashing Spring Hill neighborhoods, Lillian Esposito's May 14 letter to the editor:

I agree with her, but unfortunately, neither the kids nor the parents are reading the newspapers. That is the problem.

It is the same with watering restrictions; either people do not know, or just don't care.
-- Brenda Frekey,Spring Hill

Refreshing carwash plan doesn't deserve drubbing

Editor: Re: Planned carwash would break U.S. law, May 12 letter to the editor:

It had to happen. Someone had to point out the carwash operated by skimpily clad women may be a violation of U.S. discrimination laws. It's getting so that someone with a refreshingly new business idea doesn't dare breathe nowadays. And it looks like legal-burdened America has lost its collective sense of humor. Too bad. I was just combing my beard and brushing my hairy chest before I applied for a job at the new carwash.
-- John A. Herbert,Spring Hill

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