Why Men Earn More
For decades, we in the media have told the public
that women earn less than men. As a result,
weve created a generation of angry women and
A new book, Why
Men Earn More by Dr. Warren Farrell, shows
weve been dead wrong: that for the same work,
women earn more than men. His findings are based on
a comprehensive review of government and other
Farrell is no right-wing misogynist. He ran for
the Democrat nomination for California governor.
Hes the only man ever elected three times to
the board of the National Organization for Women in
New York City. And no intellectual lightweight, the
Financial Times named him one of the
worlds top 100 thought leaders.
The books main message is good news for
women: that if women do one or more of the 25
things men more often do to earn more money, women
can earn more than men.
Farrell does not encourage nor discourage women
from doing these 25 things: Each of the 25
usually requires trading quality of life for money.
I just want women and men to be aware of their
options so they can craft a life rather than just
accept what drops in their lap.
The 25 can be reduced to three:
1. Choose careers that pay more. Because
of supply and demand, youll earn more by
choosing a job that:
- is in an unpleasant environment (prison
guard vs. childcare worker)
- requires harder-to-attain skills (hard
science vs. liberal arts)
- requires longer work hours (executive vs.
- is unrewarding to most people (tax
accountant vs. artist)
- demands financial risk (commission-based
sales vs. government job)
- is inconvenient (traveling salesperson vs.
- is hazardous (police officer vs.
Many more men than women are willing to accept
such jobs, even when women are paid more. For
example, women sales engineers earn 143% of their
male counterparts salary.
2. Put in more hours. Thats obvious
but key. For example, Farrell cites research that
Fortune 1000 CEOs typically paid their dues
with 60-90-hour workweeks for about 20 years. Yet
women are less than half as likely as men to work
more than 50 hours a week. And women are less
likely to agree, every few years, to uproot
themselves and their families to far-flung places
to get the necessary promotions.
Why? Because women, on average, are more
involved in childrearing and other domestic
activities. So, if a woman (or man) expects to rise
to high-paying jobs, she may need to push harder to
get hubby more involved in those activities, pay
for childcare and domestic services, or decide not
to have children.
I asked Farrell, But shouldnt
workplaces not expect a woman (or a man) to work so
many hours that family life is undercut? He
responded, Yes, absolutely, but we must be
gender-fair. If a male corporate manager chose to
take care of his children, wed applaud him
but not expect the workplace to promote him as
quickly. Yet when women do the same, womens
advocacy organizations often expect just that. Both
men and women must accept the consequences of their
3. Be more productive in the hours you do
work. If women produce as much as men, the good
news is they will likely be rewarded. For example,
womens advocacy organizations complain that
female professors earn less than male professors,
but Farrell cites research that among professors
who produce an equal number of journal articles,
men were likely to be paid the same or just
slightly less than women.
I asked Farrell, But apart from the 25
non-sexist reasons men earn more, isnt sexism
still a factor? He responded, There are
instances of discrimination against both women and
men, but on average, no. If you knew you could hire
a woman for less than an equivalent man, youd
hire women to get a price advantage over your
competition. Do you think businesses so hate women
that they hire more expensive men even though
theyd lose so much money?
In reflecting on Farrells book, I wonder
whether, rather than denigrating men for earning
more, we should respect them for willingness to do
unpleasant but necessary work that few women will
do such as roofer, coal miner, and prison guard,
often working themselves into an early grave. There
are four widows for every widower.
And men, you might learn a lesson from women and
consider trading money for quality of life
© 2007, Marty
* * *
Nemko holds a PhD from the University of
California, Berkeley, and subsequently taught in
Berkeleys Graduate School of Education. He is
the worklife columnist in the Sunday San Francisco
Chronicle and is the producer and host of Work With
Marty Nemko, heard Sundays at 11 on 91.7 FM in
(NPR, San Francisco), and worldwide on
400+ of his published writings are available free
on that website and is a co-editor of
Careers for Dummies.
and author of The All-in-One College Guide.
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