Supergirl vs. Superman – had they been paid, should they really earn exactly the same?
The rather disputed, yet widely quoted, statistic says that women earn 78 cents on the dollar compared to men.
Why is this number problematic? First, it relies on a rather simple calculation from the U.S. Census Bureau: the difference between women’s annual median earnings and men’s annual median earnings. (That difference is 22 cents, hence the 78 cents on the dollar statistic).
Second, it measures annual wages. The gap gets smaller when you look at weekly wages (18 cents) or hourly wages (13 cents).
Third, it doesn’t take into consideration other aspects that may affect you salary. For example, some men might be more assertive compared to women when it comes to annual salary negotiations. Some women might prefer professions that pay less (like teaching). Some women, especially younger moms, prefer to work less hours so they could spend more time with their kids.
So while there is little dispute about the actual numbers, there is a lot of room for interpretation, and whether they imply that intended gender pay gap indeed exists.