New York Times Warns of 'Scant Progress' on Women's Pay

December 26th, 2006 4:50 PM

     The feminist mandate of “equal pay” landed on the front page of the December 24 New York Times this week, with a warning that “one big group of women has stopped making progress.”


     David Leonhardt’s article, “Scant Progress on Closing Gap in Women’s Pay,” declared that women with a four-year college degree were no longer closing the gap, but reluctantly admitted that the pay gap actually has narrowed since 1979.


     “Last year, college-educated women between 36 and 45 years old, for example, earned 74.7 cents in hourly pay for every dollar that men in the same group did, according to Labor Department data analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute. A decade earlier, the women earned 75.7 cents.”


      However, buried in the report in the third column after the jump, Leonhardt let the cat out of the bag. “[T]he overall pay gap, as measured by the government, continues to narrow,” Leonhardt wrote. “The average hourly pay of all female workers rose to 80.1 percent of men’s pay last year, from 77.3 percent in 2000.”


     Despite Leonhardt’s inclusion of the idea that “women’s own choices” such as raising children may have something to do with a wage gap, the headline and the tenor of the story was that women are still being discriminated against.


    There were even two text blocks in larger type that didn’t quote the story, but conveyed one view as fact and let it to stand without attribution: “Similar qualifications yet different pay, from bosses who say they honor equality” and “In the most lucrative professions, no easing of male domination.” Even Leonhardt admitted that different conclusions could be drawn from the data.


     Well-known experts who disagree with the wage gap rhetoric were not quoted by the Times. Warren Farrell a former National Organization for Women board member and the only man in the U.S. to be elected to it three times is one of them. In 2005, he wrote “Why Men Earn More” and concluded after looking at the data that men make choices that lead to them making more money, just as women make choices that “lead to more balanced lives.”


     The New York Times couldn’t disguise that. The final column of Leonhardt’s piece quoted a medical resident at Indiana University School of Medicine who reiterated that view. The woman, 28-year-old Melanie Kingsley is going into dermatology, a less lucrative specialty than some.


     “Yeah, maybe I won’t make a lot of money. But I’ll be happy with my day-to-day job, and that’s the reason I went into medicine – to help other people. I have seen people do it for the money, and they’re not very happy,” said Kingsley.