Politics

Iceland Stops Non-Existent Gender Wage Gap

“The problem with the entire wage gap debate is that it is based on faulty analysis. Are women paid less than men? Absolutely. Does this mean there is a wage gap? No. How is it possible that two such statements can coexist?”

Feminists are celebrating in Iceland as the country has officially made it illegal to pay women less than men. CNN quoted famed tennis star Billie Jean King as stating, “Iceland again leading in the equality movement. A new female Prime Minister, and a Parliament where nearly half of its members are women. Equal representation benefits everyone!”

Even politicians in the United States are jumping on the band wagon. The (in his own mind) great American socialist Bernie Sanders stated on Facebook, “Iceland just became the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women. In the United States in 2016, black women made 62.5 cents on the dollar compared to white men and Hispanic women made 54.4 cents. That is a disgrace.”

This is a time for great celebration for women throughout the world! Or is it? Unfortunately, all that Iceland has done is create more regulation to address a problem that doesn’t really exist in the modern world.

Before we get to the fallacy of the gender pay gap, we need to look at the Icelandic law itself. Any company with over twenty-five employees will be required to get a government certification that shows the men and women working for the company are paid equally. This does not mean that every individual must make the exact same amount, but any differences must be shown to result from factors other than gender.

So, why would I be against such laws? Clearly anyone who disagrees with this must be a misogynist pig. Not exactly.

Things like experience, longevity, and performance can be used to justify differences in pay. Non-compliance could be met with fines of up to $500 a day. Additionally, anyone seeking employment would be able to search the database online and determine if the company is meeting equality standards. The public can also use this information in order to shame companies into compliance.

So, why would I be against such laws? Clearly anyone who disagrees with this must be a misogynist pig. Not exactly. The problem with the entire wage gap debate is that it is based on faulty analysis. Are women paid less than men? Absolutely. Does this mean there is a wage gap? No. How is it possible that two such statements can coexist? Simple — the gap is the effect, not the cause. A wage gap exists because of choices that men and women tend to make in their personal and professional lives.

The Huffington Post, not exactly a conservative leaning paper, wrote an article in 2014 titled Wage Gap Myth Exposed — By Feminists where they discovered, “One of the best studies on the wage gap was released in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Labor. It examined more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and concluded that the 23-cent wage gap ‘may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both male and female workers.’ In the past, women’s groups have ignored or explained away such findings.”

I am sure that everyone reading this is just as blown away as I am by the conclusion that leftist based organizations ignore facts counter to their beliefs, but there is your proof.

I have never seen or heard anyone destroy the myth better than Thomas Sowell. He discusses the issue with Harriet Pilpel, a women’s rights attorney. Below the video is an excerpt from their discussion.

Pilpel:  …at the present time white males make $17,427…black males make $12,738, white females make $10,244, black females make $9,476. It is clear from these figures…that there is a discrimination against blacks and against women in our present system…

Sowell: …almost no where in human affairs do you find people evenly represented. If you compare comparable people with respect to age, with respect to education, etcetera, you get a totally different picture both with respect to blacks and with respect to women…if you take black families, where both the husband and wife are both college educated and compare them to white families where both the husband and wife are college educated, the black family is earning $2000 a year more. The problem is very few blacks fall within that category…

(So after losing the race debate about inequality for pay, Pilpel attempts to turn the tide to women making less.)

Pilpel: …you have to agree that generally speaking women are paid less for…the same jobs as men…

Sowell: No I would not…If you’re talking about women with the same number of years of experience, with the same continuous service…then when I look at that I don’t find that disparity, I find…in many cases women are making more depending on how you break the data down.

(In a final desperate attempt to validate her feminist view, she brings up the pay difference with single women versus single men.)

Pilpel: …single men are earning $11,100 and single women are earning $9,300…

Sowell: Yes, I love the word single that is used. When I did my study, I didn’t use the word single, I used never married. You see a woman who is single at age 40, who has spent ten or twenty years raising children is…not…the same as a man who is age 40, who has been working continuously for 20 years.

I can foresee leftist and feminist comments that may disagree with this interview. For example, how would a white man have any idea about the struggles within the black community? The only problem with this question is that Thomas Sowell is a black man whose father died before his birth — he was raised by his great-aunt because his mother couldn’t adequately care for him.

Time isn’t a factor either, this interview was conducted in 1981 — 37 years ago.

The problem has never been an employer pay issue. It is that women make choices that end up limiting their ability to make more money. As stated, when women chose to put their careers before marriage and children, they often out perform their male counterparts.

Any company with over twenty-five employees will be required to get a government certification that shows the men and women working for the company are paid equally.

So what? Why does any of this matter anyway? There isn’t any harm with Iceland enacting these laws, right? I personally don’t agree for three reasons. First off, you will almost always find what you are looking for. People are predisposed to find evidence which supports their belief system. It is for this very reason that we can debate a singular issue and each side can produce evidence supporting their stance.

In this case, I would be concerned with the fact that government regulators will be ultimately responsible to make an arbitrary decision as to whether an employee’s pay is based upon sexism or other factors. This is especially concerning given the mountain of evidence that contradicts the view that a wage gap still exists.

Secondly, it perpetuates and gives credence to a false narrative for a political motive. The only purpose of this narrative is to divide people and cause turmoil.

Finally, this will force employers to artificially adjust pay, not based off of work performance, but based upon the political tides. The next step is for the government to come in and regulate pay for companies.

Well, not conservative or pro-life women. But then again, they are really no different than conservative blacks or Hispanics — they don’t count.

I find the ridiculousness of this entire debate to be both hilarious and excruciatingly frustrating. Take the Huffington Post for example. Not only did they write a story proclaiming how the feminist ideology destroyed the gender pay gap myth, two months ago they updated the story, “Gender Pay Gap: 10 Inspiring Quotes That Prove Time and Time Again Women Deserve Equal Pay.”

My favorite quote comes from the great political mind, Beyoncé. “…unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”

What she is saying is exactly what feminists want. Not equal pay for equal work, that is already there. They want more pay, more rights, and more opportunities for women. Well, not conservative or pro-life women. But then again, they are really no different than conservative blacks or Hispanics — they don’t count.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Matthew Wadler

Matthew Wadler is a U.S. Army veteran. Matt served in the Army for 20 years as both enlisted and officer before retiring. His service includes time as Military Police, Field Artillery, Adjutant General, and Recruiting. His deployments include Somalia and two tours to Afghanistan. His formal education includes a master’s degree in HR Management. He is a strong supporter of the constitution and advocate for the military and veteran communities. Follow Matthew on Twitter @MatthewWadler.

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