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EDITORIAL: ‘Equal Pay Day’ doesn’t account for job choices

No matter how many times journalists, economists or professors dispel the myth of the gender pay gap, Democrats continue to push it.

Speaking at an event in September, President Barack Obama told the crowd that women are “disproportionately not paid what they’re worth,” and called upon all Americans to “recognize the full value of women’s skills and their significant contributions to the labor force, acknowledge the injustice of wage discrimination, and join efforts to achieve equal pay.” During the fourth Democratic debate in South Carolina earlier this month, the crowd roared when Hillary Clinton said that, if elected, she would ensure “equal pay for women’s work.”

Also devoted to bringing public attention to this injustice that doesn’t actually exist is the National Committee on Pay Equity. Each year, the NCPE promotes “Equal Pay Day” — this year to fall on April 12 — which supposedly represents how far into 2017 the average woman will have to work in order to match what the average man will earn in 2016.

As has been pointed out time and time again (and again and again), the NCPE’s wage gap figure — the claim that women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned by men — does not account for the different types of (and different-paying) jobs men and women typically choose.

Women tend to gravitate toward jobs with less travel and greater flexibility. They are more willing than men to sacrifice salary for a better quality of life — especially if they have or are planning to have children.

Men, on the other hand, are typically more motivated by pay — often because they have kids — and tend to be much more willing than women to put up with less-attractive work conditions if it means they’ll earn more. They’re more likely to work longer hours or overnight shifts, and also tend to take the jobs that women don’t want, like jobs that could get them hurt — or worse.

Armed with that knowledge, the American Enterprise Institute answered the NCPE’s Equal Pay Day with a special day of its own. In 2010, AEI’s Mark Perry introduced “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” in order to shed light on the rather large gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States. Last week, AEI determined how far into the future the average woman can work until the number of job-related deaths suffered by women matches the number of men who died on the job in 2014 alone. According to their calculations, “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” will be observed on January 12, 2027.

If elected officials, overbearing bureaucrats and other equal-pay advocates really want to eliminate the so-called gender pay gap, they need to get honest and admit it’s about the job choices people make. And the only way to fix that is to force people into jobs they don’t want to take.

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