It’s been a week of the false premise of the Wage Gap and a Ban Bossy hangover — all being put in play to push turnout in unmarried females for the Democrats. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney appears in the Washingtonian to highlight his family’s glossy DC existence, breakfast habits, and presumably to advertise his wife’s new book. Buried in this interview is this quote about his wife.
Shipman works part-time now for ABC News, something she’s done for five years, which has given her more flexibility to write and hang out with her children. Flexibility, she says, is what most working mothers really want.
Haven’t we been saying all week that the differences between pay for men and women were often because women make different choices once they have a family?
Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings. Then there is the issue of marriage and children. The BLS reports that single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012. The supposed pay gap appears when marriage and children enter the picture. Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not.
Despite the fact his own wife has made a choice to lean out while her kids are young, Jay Carney himself this week struggled at best with the equal pay discussion.
CARNEY: Again, the fact that there is indisputable census data that women earn 77 cents on the dollar that men earn. A lot of things go into that discrepancy. Discrimination and lack of transparency and the inability of women to find out what they’re paid vis-a-vis their male coworkers is part of the problem. That is something we, in the administration via the president’s authorities, and Congress through legislation can address. That is what the president is saying today. That is why he took the action he took That is why he’s calling on Congress to do what it can do to address those problems. I’m not disputing that there are a lot of factors that go into that, but the discrepancy is real. And the again, I –
Shipman is featured in The Washingtonian largely to discuss her new book about female confidence. Credit should go to Shipman compared to the false data and blaming behind Ban Bossy. She highlights behaviors that likely lead to women taking a less aggressive stance in the workplace. Instead of assigning blame to others — namely men — she finds shockingly that women are often different than men:
“How often in life do we avoid doing something because we think we’ll fail?” the pair ask. “And how often might we actually have triumphed if we had just decided to give it a try?” They advocate “failing fast,” a tech buzzword that is the ideal paradigm for building female confidence. Take a small risk, fail, learn from it, and move on. Men are more comfortable taking risks, and tend to more easily shrug off failure. Women, on the other hand, stew, worry, ruminate, and second-guess themselves. “It’s not fun to experience failure,” says Shipman. “But it’s important. Girls are more focused on being perfect, and when that is your goal, you are not willing to take risks.
It may be that women can adapt more comfort with risk and this will help them be more successful in the job market. Shaking off bad grades and moving on instead of ruminating on failures certainly is healthy. Alternatively, there may be some might who say a complementary reason that women differ from men when it comes to risk. And that might give us pause if we eradicate a sense of risk aversion in both genders.
I’m going out on a limb here and noting that children benefit from having both a mother and a father’s perspective on risk in their lives to aid in their own emotional maturation. Children crave both a sense of safety and protection as well as adventure and as if by magic — men and women happen to be able to fill these sensibilities well.
Perhaps one of the best examples of a diversity initiative happens when men and women marry and raise children.
Here we are with another example of a family living these values yet actively pushing for policies that don’t reflect the choices they’ve made when it comes to their family.
If their talking points don’t even reflect their reality, who are they talking about?