The Gender Gap

The question is equal pay for equal work. The answer is that there are multiple dimensions of discrimination. North America does well on some, not so well on others.

A new measure of progress offered by 24/7 Wall Street is the numbers of years at the current rate of progress it would take to achieve complete equality in pay. On this measure, at the current rate of progress, complete equality would take

  • 61 years in Europe
  • 70 years in the Caribbean
  • 74 years in Latin America
  • 135 years in sub-Saharan Africa
  • 153 years in the Middle East
  • 165 years in North America
  • 171 years in East Asia

Where the pay gap is less, there are implicit restrictions on the number of women who can hold certain types of jobs. That’s the second dimension of discrimination.

Plainly, if you’re a competent female manager, you should be looking for work in Europe or South America, not here.

Given these figures, it’s rather understandable why people are so upset. As economists Milton Friedman and Gary Becker argued, companies function best when the right people are in the right positions. Any distortion produces suboptimal economic results, hurting shareholders and workers.




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