Not at all Strange

by Evil HR Lady on September 30, 2008

I get a weekly e-mail from BLR called HR Strange But True. It’s usually some fluff about resumes or such. Interesting, but nothing to blog about.

Until the last e-mail. They proclaim that “Sexists Get Paid More!” This, is a “strange” phenomenon. Bah. They have not thought it through.

First of all, let’s get rid of the inflammatory language. Sexists connotes someone who thinks women aren’t capable of competing with men. That’s not what the study says at all. Why don’t we say, “Traditional Men Get Paid More!” That, I think, is a bit less biased.

Anyway, BLR is in shock (shock, I tell you!) that men who want a wife that stays at home make more money then those with more “egalitarian views” do. It’s all about choices, people.

If a man believes that the best situation is for him to be married and have a wife that does not work, then guess what? He’s most likely to marry a woman who will stay at home. And what will that wife be doing? Taking care of the house, the kids, paying the bills, waiting for the plumber, arguing with the phone company, and generally taking responsibility for a million different things.

The man who believes the best situation is for him to be married to a woman who also works will most likely be married to a…drum roll please…a wife who also works. What does this mean? Well, he’s got to either share in all those responsibilities listed above, or he is a real jerk who lets his wife, who works as much as he does, take care of all that stuff plus his marriage is shakier because she’s angry at him for not helping. What about the woman who works with a working husband? Or the single person? All of these people have essentially two jobs–the one at home and the one at work.

The “traditional” man has someone else taking care of all the outside hassles of life. He, essentially, only works one job–the one he’s paid for. Does it not make sense that he should be able to focus more on work? He never has to worry about having clean socks or missing an important meeting because one of the kids is puking.

It’s all about choice. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are consequences with each choice.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Perhaps this bears repeating: Women will be equal when there are mediocre women as CEOs.

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jaded hr rep September 30, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Stats 101: Correlation does not equal causality. Most media forget their basics (or maybe journalists never take stats) in favor of provocative (and misleading) headlines.

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Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Don’t forget that if a man is married to a woman that stays home, and that was the plan, then he will most likely have planned for the need for more income. He will have chosen a higher paid career to prepare for the lack of an additional income.

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Holly September 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Okay, but have there been any studies on women with stay-at-home partners? Do they end up earning more too?

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PAW September 30, 2008 at 3:35 pm

That’s an interesting point Holly and something to think about, if they do then this blog is spot on, if not….

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nectarines September 30, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Hmmm. I don’t know.

The comparison holds up when you’re talking about married people with kids all around. But it doesn’t really when someone is single, or married without kids.

I mean, how much extra stuff is there REALLY to do when you’re childless? Someone’s got to clean the house, but if you’re a DINK couple, you’ve probably got the money for a housekeeping service and nobody’s ever home to make a mess, anyway. Someone’s got to wait for the plumber/cable guy/electrician, but how often does that really happen? Once a year? Is that really enough to derail an otherwise stellar career? A trip to the grocery store takes all of 10 minutes if you have no kids. Every married man with kids is eventually going to get a request from his wife that they take a family vacation, while a single man doesn’t face that pressure. And no matter how solicitous their wives are, every executive has to drag himself to the dentist and the doctor.

Kids are a HUGE time investment, day in and day out. So if you’re going to say that people with extra stuff to do outside of work are always at a disadvantage, then yes – people married to a SAHP do avoid that disadvantage a good chunk of the time. Because they’re offloading the work to their partner as much as they can.

But it would also, I think, mean that single, childless people have it best of all regardless of their personal views, because they’re going to have the most free time overall. And that’s not what this study is saying.

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Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 6:22 pm

“I mean, how much extra stuff is there REALLY to do when you’re childless? Someone’s got to clean the house, but if you’re a DINK couple, you’ve probably got the money for a housekeeping service and nobody’s ever home to make a mess, anyway.”

I WISH! Pretty broad assumptions there. I am half of a double income couple. Money is still tight and there is no room for luxuries like having a housekeeper. And we are home quite frequently lately since this economy has all but destroyed any disposable income. Don’t be so quick to generalize – just because we don’t have kids yet doesn’t mean we’re rolling in money. Far from it.

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Anonymous September 30, 2008 at 8:17 pm

I am part of a dual income couple and we currently do not have kids and there are constantly things that need to be taken care of that almost equal a full time job. We don’t have housekeepers, or people to wait for the cable person or take the vacuum in when it is broken. We are still pay check to pay check with two good incomes and we spend all weekend trying to complete all the non-work related things that we couldn’t do during the week. So I wouldn’t say there isn’t things for stay at home wives to do if they don’t have kids. Grocery shopping, lunch making, dinner making, cleaning, laundry, bill paying, being CEO of a household adds up in time quickly.

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Ibn Tumart October 1, 2008 at 1:14 am

Jaded HR Rep:
Journalists did not undertake this study or reach the conclusion cited. It was a pair of organizational psychologists who tracked participants over 25 years.

They are not amateurs or idiots who don’t know the difference between mere correlation and actual causality.

Holly:
The study tracked viewpoints of people actually in the workforce and how much they made. I don’t think it concerned itself with whether the people in question had spouses or partners, nor with how much said significant others made (if anything).

But I haven’t read the actual study or its methodology, only the Washington Post’s summary and interview with the researchers. You can find the article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/21/AR2008092102529.html?hpid=topnews

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jaded hr rep October 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm

@IBN tumart – No the comment is that journalists skew the “real” results of the studies. This happens all the time. If you read the study itself, I’m sure there are no blazing statements like the one made in the headline (as it was also reported in the papers in the same way). The headline reads as if being a chauvinist will earn you more income, when I’m sure the psychologists suggested no such thing in the paper itself.

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Sarah October 1, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Well, I have to say in defence of nectarines point of view that I am also part of a childless couple with two good jobs, and we do have plenty of time on our hands, the ability to have someone come in once a week and clean (for a couple of hours), and more than enough time for household shopping etc. That said, my htb is genuinely good at doing his share and handy round the house, and we are both tidy people, but nonetheless, we have loads of free time and income compared to friends with children.

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Ibn Tumart October 1, 2008 at 11:34 pm

The full Journal of Applied Psychology article is here:
http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/apl935994.pdf

The article did not use the charged language you suggest. It simply read "Study Ties Wage Disparities To Outlook on Gender Roles"—which is, in fact, *exactly* what the study in question does.

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joe October 7, 2008 at 11:18 am

If your hypothesis is true than women who have a husband who stays home would make as much as men.

Also, single men and women would make the same amount of money.

The study didn’t find either of those to be true.

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