Women "Outpacing" Men

Okay, this article probably caught the eye of every New York Times reader on Friday.  It's about how in New York, Dallas and several other major cities, women in their 20s now earn higher salaries than their male counterparts.  It then goes on to hypothesize about the reasons for the change:

"'Previously, female migration patterns were determined primarily by their husband's educational levels or employment needs, even if both were college-educated,' she said. 'Today, highly qualified women are moving for their own professional opportunities and personal interests. It's no longer an era of power couple migration to, but one of power couple formation in places like New York.'"

"It is not clear whether this is the front edge of a trend in which women will gradually move ahead of men in all age groups. Typically, women have fallen further behind men in earnings as they get older. That is because some women stop working altogether, work only part time or encounter a glass ceiling in promotions and raises.  But as women enrolled in college and graduate school continue to outnumber men, gender wage gaps among older workers may narrow, too, experts said. Even among New Yorkers in their 30s, women now make as much as men."

"And women in their 20s now make more than men in a wide variety of other jobs: as doctors, personnel managers, architects, economists, lawyers, stock clerks, customer service representatives, editors and reporters."

"Melissa J. Manfro, a 24-year-old lawyer who was raised in upstate New York, offered her own theory on why younger female lawyers are outearning their male peers: a desire to begin their careers earlier to prepare for starting families."

"Several experts also said that rising income for women might affect marriage rates if women expect their mates to have at least equivalent salaries and education."

Wait a second.  Okay.  There was something else you said, earlier in the article:

"Economists consider it striking because the wage gap between men and women nationally has narrowed more slowly and has even widened in recent years among one part of that group: college-educated women in their 20s."

So things are going poorly on the national level?  Okay, that deserves a second's pause.  It's not completely in line with the photo caption: "Melissa J. Manfro, center, theorizes that young female lawyers outearn male peers because they begin earlier, to prepare for starting families." 

I mean, hell.  Look at that whole paragraph:

"Economists consider it striking because the wage gap between men and women nationally has narrowed more slowly and has even widened in recent years among one part of that group: college-educated women in their 20s. But in New York, young college-educated women's wages as a percentage of men's rose slightly between 2000 and 2005."

What does that imply about wages outside of New York?

This seems to me to be a wonderful instance of "reporter talks to smart people but still gets it all wrong." The people he quotes who have any background in the subject say one thing, whilst the random folks on the street, whom he asks for guesses as to why women are doing well, say another.

If you look at what the actual experts say, it's all about concentration and migration.  The main moral of the story is that people are moving about.  Which is important, genuinely important, and highly interesting.

But come on.  Yes, your readers are sick and tired of politically correct feminist cliche, but they can stick it out a little longer.

Tags: Bias, feminism, New York Times, NYT, reporting, Women (all tags)

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