“Why outsource all your production to faraway countries like India, China, and Narnia, when we have the cheapest and best workforce here in the good ol’ U.S. of A: Women?” asks actress Kristen Bell in a new video produced by The Huffington Post, which is part of a series titled “Celebs Have Issues.” The leftist media organization evidently recruited the “Frozen” star, whose estimated net worth is around $16 million, to bring attention to the sex discrimination the Left believes responsible for the so-called “gender pay gap” in America.
The overarching premise of the ad features Bell addressing a presumably male corporate audience, beseeching them to “pinksource” their production to female workers, whom they would “only have [to pay] 77 cents on the dollar.” Aside from this tired statistic, which we’ve often heard from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Bell repeats other progressive talking points concerning the alleged unfair treatment of women: maternity leave policies, birth control coverage, etc.
Why Aren’t Companies ‘Pinksourcing’ Already?
I suppose Bell was a smart choice for the project, considering the essential arguments she puts forth in the video present some major logical issues. If the underlying theme of the video is true—that companies run by men can and do arbitrarily pay women less because of their sex—then why aren’t companies “pinksourcing” left and right? As Bell and economist Thomas Sowell have pointed out, if the 77 percent statistic is reality, employers are unwittingly paying “30 percent more than they [have] to” whenever they hire a man for a position equally suited for a woman. Are employers really that stupid?
Perhaps companies don’t “pinksource” because—oh, that’s right—discriminating on the basis of sex in employment is already illegal, and has been since 1963, when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. If a woman does indeed make less than a male counterpart—working the exact same job, with the same hours, and the same caliber of performance—she already has ample grounds to sue. Somehow, progressive feminists always forget the policy goal they’re supposedly clamoring for has already been achieved.
So where does the 77 cents statistic come from? As has been explained time and time again (even by liberals), many different factors contribute to disparities between the salaries of men and women. Men tend to choose college majors that lead to higher-paying gigs, such as engineering and computer science, whereas women tend to gravitate to lower-paying fields like education, health science, or the humanities.
Even in fields both sexes pursue more equally, men tend to specialize in higher-paying areas like business or management, whereas women often work as, say, service professionals. Men also work more in for-profit economic sectors while more women dominate non-profit work.
There are logistical considerations as well. Women are twice as likely to work part-time, and those that do hold full-time positions consistently report working fewer hours than their male counterparts. One reason for this is career interruption, due sometimes to biological differences between the sexes. Although some liberals have had trouble with this concept recently, only females can get pregnant and bear children, and when they do, they require more time off work than men do. This isn’t unfair or discriminatory, but rather a natural part of being a woman.
What Women Can Do To Raise Their Pay
Incidentally, some of the points Bell brings up in the video actually highlight some of the reasons women do end up making less than men. These reasons can be challenged at the individual level. Bell tells the male honchos, “You don’t have to pay women overtime, they’ll never ask for a raise, and they don’t complain about their working conditions.”
Although that first part is patently false (spoiler alert: employers do have to pay women for overtime work), Bell touches on an interesting phenomenon in corporate culture: women simply do not ask for raises as much as men. The Wall Street Journal reported on a study done by Glamour magazine, wherein 54 percent of male respondents said they asked for raises, compared to just 39 percent of female respondents. But the study also found that 75 percent of women who did ask for a raise actually received one. Additional studies have drawn similar conclusions; one by LinkedIn found that employers gave raises to 84 percent of the female respondents who had asked for them.
It’s hard to measure how much of the wage gap can be attributed to this, and the reasons behind it are also ambiguous. Perhaps, as the Journal notes, it’s because American culture has imbued a “work hard, and the benefits will follow” mentality that discourages proactively asking for those aforementioned benefits. Indeed, this mindset may also contribute to the fact that women receive less promotions than men, another point Bell makes in the video.
But another potential factor is that when many women enter the workforce, they already believe they face unwarranted discrimination on the basis of their sex, regardless of whether it’s true in their individual circumstances. A 2015 study by Women in the Workplace, for instance, found that women are four times more likely than men to think they have fewer opportunities because of their sex, and three times more likely to believe they were picked over for an assignment or raise because of their womanhood.
What accounts for this perception? Is it because they’re aware of the real reasons for the wage gap discussed above? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s because progressive women like Kristen Bell and the staffers at The Huffington Post publish fact-challenged grievance propaganda like this, relentlessly peddling the myth that only senseless discrimination accounts for women’s disadvantaged position in the modern workplace. This would discourage women from getting proactive and seeking what they can do to better themselves. Ironically enough, these thought leaders may actually be hurting the very people they seek to help.