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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, November 20, 2002
7:28 AM

Our old friend the gender-gap is back in the form of another survey comparing women's wages to men's. Today's story takes a local angle, D.C.'s Working Women at Top in Job Survey:

Working women in the District are outperforming women in the workforce anywhere else in the United States, according to a new state-by-state survey of women's economic, health and political environment.

D.C. women earn the most money, face the lowest gap between what they earn and what men earn, are the most likely to hold managerial and professional positions and are more likely to own a business than women anywhere else in the United States, according to the report, a statistical analysis compiled by the District-based Institute for Women's Policy Research.

You can be sure of two things when stories like this run. One is that women will be described as earning less money than men, leaving out the crucial fact these figures compare all women to all men, a misleading competition in which people who have dropped out of the labor force or worked part-time are compared to 30-year 70-hour-a-week workaholics:

Overall, women in the workforce nationwide prospered in the past decade, the study found, because their wages grew during the buoyant economy of the late 1990s. In addition, the wage gap between men and women shrank, partially because women's wages grew but also because some men's wages did not grow as robustly.

Even so, women's wages lag men's by a large margin. According to the study, women in 41 states earn a median income of less than $30,000 a year. Men earned less than $30,000 in only one state, Arkansas.

The second is that liberal advocacy groups almost always are quoted on the meaning of these findings and conservatives usually are not:

Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, said the institute's research was consistent with what it had found when it conducted similar surveys of state health, education and child-care tax-credit policies. She added that the states with low wages, more women in poverty and many workers lacking insurance "are repeaters," with the poorest states simply "switching places back and forth" at the back of the pack.

Your remember our friends at the National Women's Law Center (and btw, I added the link, not the Post). They're fighting coaches opposing the Title IX quotas and women who don't want to be auto mechanics.

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