Wage Gap A Myth? 3 Reasons To Believe The Gender Pay Gap Is Real

Is the gender wage gap a myth?

That's what a piece on PolicyMic last week suggested.

Blogger Matt Vespa argues that the Paycheck Fairness Act, which House Republicans blocked from going to a vote this April, is unnecessary, citing a recent Payscale survey showing that the wage gap is actually due to women's choices rather than gender discrimination. Vespa quotes the Atlantic's coverage of the survey, "The real gap isn't between men and women doing the same job. The real gap is between men and women doing different jobs and following different careers."

The Payscale survey, which was based on information from users' profiles, not census data, controlled for factors like education level, types of jobs and different responsibilities between men and women. Economist Katie Bardaro, the survey's lead researcher, told The Huffington Post at the time, “The gender wage gap does not exist in the way people believe it does. However, it does persist for director and executive-level positions.”

That finding contradicts the results of several previous studies based on census data that have shown that when factors like education level, time out of the workplace, and having children are controlled for, women still make less than men for the same work.

In April 2013, Rep. Rosa DeLauro told the Huffington Post: "We have enough statistical information to demonstrate that no matter what the job is, whether you're a waitress or bus driver or civil engineer, women are paid less money."

Here are three examples of that statistical information. See if, after perusing these studies, you think the wage gap is a myth.

Women earn less than men even within the same occupations. In April 2012, the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) compared the median earnings in the 20 most common occupations for men and women. Women had lower median earnings than men in all but one category. Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at IWPR, said in a press release:

“These gender wage gaps are not about women choosing to work less than men -- the analysis is comparing apples to apples, men and women who all work full time -- and we see that across these 40 common occupations, men nearly always earn more than women."

The pay gap starts right out of college. A report released by the American Association of University Women in October 2012 stated that Millennial women are making 82 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts. This is usually before women are married of have children, so the only choice that influences earnings here is willingness to negotiate on a starting salary.

The gap still exists when you control for "lifestyle choices." The American Association of University Women analyzed government earnings data and found that when the information was controlled for for factors such as job choice, GPA, alma mater, children, time off of work, and other factors, women's pay was still 12 percent lower than men's one decade into their careers.

Do you think the wage gap is a myth, or is it real? Comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter @HuffPostWomen.

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