The Corner

Politics & Policy

Choices and the Wage Gap

(Syda Productions/Dreamstime)

Carrie Lukas is right on target when she points out that the new, improved “wage gap” of 49 cents on the dollar rests upon the same fallacy as the old one: the implication that any difference between the average earnings of women and those of men must be due to sexism. In fact, such gaps are usually due to the differing choices that women and men make. As Lukas writes: “Full-time working women tend to work fewer hours, to choose different industries and specialties, and to opt for better hours over more compensation.”

Lukas is also correct to advise women to gather data and to choose carefully and wisely when “they decide what to study, which fields to enter, and how to plan their work lives.” Yet we all know what happens to the best-laid plans. For example, if a woman’s husband makes more money than she does, as is often the case, his career needs will usually be given the most weight, regardless of what she may have planned. A conservative proposal to address this imbalance might include paid parental leave and child-care support to widen a couple’s options.

Conservatives should continue to emphasize the importance of informed decision-making for everyone who enters the workforce, but we must also be clear-eyed about the amount of leeway most couples actually have when deciding how to organize their family life. Women planning careers should indeed take care to choose wisely — but it would also help if they had a better set of choices.

Fred Schwarz — Fred Schwarz is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

PC Culture

America Is Intolerably Intolerant

When you think of the sheer vindictiveness of what happened to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, it takes your breath away. On the very night of his greatest career triumph, a reporter dug up his old tweets (composed when he was a young teenager), reported on the most offensive insults, and immediately and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How Democrats Can Blow It in 2020

Donald Trump probably can’t win the 2020 presidential election, but the Democrats can lose it. What I mean is that in a contest between Trump and a generic Democrat, Trump would almost surely lose if the current political climate holds through 2020. According to a Fox News poll this week, 38 percent of ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Unforgettable Curtain Call

At 88, Clint Eastwood seldom appears on screen anymore and last acted in a movie in 2012’s mediocre Trouble with the Curve. So the final images of The Mule may be the last we see of him at the movies. If so, what an exit: understated perfection, with a playful hint of subverting his screen image. The Mule is ... Read More