Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do about It

Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do about It

by Warren Farrell

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"Controversial and exhaustively researched, gender expert Warren Farrell’s latest book Why Men Earn More takes as its stunning argument the idea that bias-based unequal pay for women is largely a myth, and that women are most often paid less than men not because they are discriminated against, but because they have made lifestyle choices that


"Controversial and exhaustively researched, gender expert Warren Farrell’s latest book Why Men Earn More takes as its stunning argument the idea that bias-based unequal pay for women is largely a myth, and that women are most often paid less than men not because they are discriminated against, but because they have made lifestyle choices that affect their ability to earn.

Why Men Earn More argues that while discrimination sometimes plays a part, both men and women unconsciously make trade-offs that affect how much they earn. Farrell clearly defines the 25 different workplace choices that affect women’s and men’s incomes — including putting in more hours at work, taking riskier jobs or more hazardous assignments, being willing to change location, and training for technical jobs that involve less people contact — and provides readers with specific, research-supported ways for women to earn higher pay.

Why Men Earn More, with its brashness in the face of political correctness, is sure to ignite a storm of media controversy that will help to make this thoroughly pragmatic exposé Warren Farrell’s next bestseller."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Farrell’s tome is a huge step forward in understanding a bit more about a most perplexing problem.”

-Frequent Flyer

“…a fascinating read.”

-Wendy McElroy, FoxNews.com

"... will make you squeamish….in a good way. Knowing the facts (there are a lot in this book) only empowers you.”

-Downtown Women's Club

Erika Welz Prafder
"He lays out a practical and clear set of considerations, such as your field: science and technology versus social sciences and the arts. Work environment: which male fields are becoming female-friendly? Education and training: what will be the most relevant 10 years from now? Your work hours: how much longer should you work for how much more pay? Travel and relocating: how far is too far to go for higher pay? The author based his information on comprehensive research and provides facts and figures as evidence. It is designed to give information in order to make empowering choices that will lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life."
New York Post, March 28, 2005
Jeanne Sahadi
"I don't usually use this column to recommend books, but "Why Men Earn More" will provide much food for thought, no matter where you stand in the pay-gap debate."
Bloomberg News
"Why Men Earn More does treat an important subject comprehensively, fairly and accurately, drawing on international trends even as it focuses on the United States."

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Why Men Earn More

By Warren Farrell


Copyright © 2005 Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8144-7210-9

Chapter One

A Personal Introduction: How the Journey Began

My motivations for writing this book include the very personal. My wife and I are raising two teenage girls, Erin and Alex. They are technically her daughters and my stepdaughters, but, as their challenges become ours, they've gotten into my blood and certainly into my heart. At ages 17 and 18, they are entering the world of work. It is my hope this book helps them balance the need for money with the need for fulfillment - to not just make a better living, but to create a better life.

My journey with Alex and Erin started some 11 years ago. My tennis partner, Greg, told me his business partner, Liz, had just completed a divorce. He didn't want to play cupid, but ...

Liz is now my wife. At the time, Liz was living in a small rental fixer-upper with Alex and Erin. She was juggling her child-raising with starting her own little public relations business from a desk in her home. Working until midnight was not unusual. While some of Liz's women friends shopped 'til they dropped, Liz juggled 'til she plopped.

Over the course of the next four years, Liz's dedication had gradually paid off. Her business was booming, she was winning clients away from major PR firms ... she had become a success story. That was the upside. On the downside, her blood pressure was dangerously high, and more than once she fell asleep beginning a sentence about work and woke up ending the sentence.

Now, as we sat down to "enjoy" breakfast, her eyes were already commuting to work....

"What's happening, honey?"

"Oh, sorry.... It's Kristin. She's been seeing how well I've been doing and wants more money."

"You've already increased her salary a few times, haven't you?"

"Yes, but her landlord has a buyer for the home she's living in. She's been given her 30-days' notice, and equivalent rentals are about twice the price. She's panicking."

"It's getting close to Christmas. Do you have another raise planned for her?"

"Yes, and, as you know, I've given her an incentive for each media placement, so she makes about twice what she used to make."

"Is there any way for her to make more money than she does?"

"Yes, she could work more hours a week, but I had to persuade her to work more than 30 hours a week because she wants to have time for her son, time to exercise, do yoga, meditate, and, as she puts it, 'keep her life in balance.'"

"Sounds like she's making a healthy choice, but if you're paying people to do yoga, let me know, I'll quit my writing and work for you! Seriously, what's her perspective on this?"

"Well, she feels her contributions are every bit as valuable as mine; that as a result of her keeping her life in balance, she brings the very best of herself to work; that she's very bright, works hard, has good ideas, a positive attitude, and that, therefore, there shouldn't be such a big gap between her pay and mine."

"How do you feel about that?"

"Well, on the one hand, I think everything she says about herself is true. She's very good, she's gotten much better, she has good ideas, her confidence is building, and I'd sure hate to lose her. Besides, I don't want her to have to live in a place she can't stand. I know that she doesn't have much money, that she doesn't get child support, and that her parents don't help her. I consider her a friend - I hate it when she hurts."

"But something is still bugging you. When I looked up from the melon, your eyes had some hurt in them, almost like you didn't feel you were being understood."

"Yeah, that's true. I guess I feel that I have basically the same qualities I had three years ago as a worker, but the reason I'm making more now is because I took the risk of working for myself without any security or benefits, without any guarantee of an income, or without any guarantee that my 50- to 60-hour weeks would have any payoff."

"Also, you're much more a prisoner of your work," I added. "When there's a deadline, you work the extra hours no matter what you feel like doing. And for the first few years we knew each other, you were generating business everywhere you went. A party, even a Thanksgiving dinner at friends', was potential business. And even now, you rarely check out psychologically."

"True. And you know how I hate traveling, especially going to Minneapolis in midweek, having to rearrange everything with the kids, leave them, return jet-lag tired, and then deal with the results of their neglect, including my guilt."

"What I hear you saying, then, is that you want Kristin to know that there's something more to getting paid and more than being a good worker who follows directions well, or even who executes creatively. Is your dilemma that you want to let her know the money you make comes because of sacrifices she's not willing to make because she's choosing to live a healthier, more-balanced life, yet you're afraid to tell her that because you don't want her to feel you don't value her contribution?"

"Yes. And there's one other thing. I want her to appreciate that one thing I do with my extra money is to create a security blanket for her - so that if we suddenly lose two of our clients and therefore most of our income, I can draw on savings and not have to let her go."

"So you need a security blanket to give her a security blanket? And you want her to know there are no free security blankets?"

"Right," Liz laughed.

"I hope you also want enough money so you can begin to cut back on work, meditate, do yoga, and balance your life the way Kristin balances hers (hint, hint!)."

Shortly after this discussion with Liz, I was talking with some people after giving a workshop. A tall, silver-haired man hovered in the background. His patience was studied, as if calculating the costs and benefits of waiting. When the group dissipated, he stepped forward cautiously.

"Listen, I've got a problem. In the past few years, our company has been sued for sex discrimination three times."

"You must be pretty involved with your company."

"How's that?"

"You use 'I' and 'our company' interchangeably."

"Oh," he laughed, a tad embarrassed. "Well, the lawsuits are wreaking havoc on the company and me. They're forcing us to put into legal fees what we should be putting into products and into raises for people who are working, not suing.

"And the other thing is, it's destroying morale. And not just among the men. After I gave a speech about the importance of hiring women, even one of my women managers said, 'I like what you're saying about hiring women, but the higher up in the company I go, the more afraid I am to hire a woman for the company, 'cause all three of the lawsuits we've received have been from women. I'm afraid of being the one to hire somebody who will sue the company.'"

I switched to a softer, more of a tell-me-in-confidence tone. "Tell me ... off the record. Are you paying women less than men?"

He thought long enough to make me assume the answer was "yes." Then he surprised me. "No. In reality, no. But sometimes it appears that we do."

"How so?"

"Sometimes we promote a woman faster than we would a man, giving her the same job title as a man, but she has fewer years with the company."

"So you pay her less?"

"Yes. We'd pay anyone with fewer years less, but we move good women more quickly than we move good men, which is really discrimination against men, but it ends up looking like discrimination against women when we pay them less for less seniority."

"Sort of ironic, huh?"

"Yeah. In fact, it's worse than that. Last year, I asked who was willing to relocate to bail out two of our problem branches: one in Alaska and one in Kansas. No one volunteered. So I offered extra pay. Then one of the men says, 'Maybe. I'll have to check with my family.' I ask if there are any women who want to go. The reaction is, 'Are you kidding? To Alaska?' Well, one single woman did perk up a bit, about there being a lot of single guys there, but then she unperked when she recalled that the cost of living is higher there. So I offered even more money to go to Alaska."

I laugh, "I can see it coming. She still says no; he says yes, but now you've got a guy with the same job title earning much more than his female colleague."

"Yep, nail on the head. It looks like clear-cut discrimination, until you realize that anyone with more years would have higher pay, and that anyone who took that job in Alaska would have higher pay."

"So you want to be fair - even acknowledged for bending over backwards to promote women - but when you're fair, the men get higher pay because they make more sacrifices, and even when you promote women faster, the men sometimes still get higher pay because they have more years of experience."

"Yes," he said. "And the HR people look at the raw data of men getting more pay and falsely conclude women are subject to discrimination. I feel this myself until I look more closely! Anyway, the result of no one understanding this is a lawsuit, an aggrieved woman, damaged morale, and even women managers who are afraid to hire women! Why don't you write a book called What to Do before You Sue?"

I smile. From the impatience in the night custodian's eyes, our delay isn't giving him higher pay. As we're "swept away," I promise to give his situation some thought. That conversation was about 15 years ago. I've given it some thought.

Both Liz and the male executive valued their female employees. Both credited their competence, intelligence, and effectiveness. Both respected their decisions to keep their work lives and personal lives in balance - in fact, Liz was envious of it. Yet both Liz and the corporate executive were grasping for a way to tell their women employees what they could do to receive higher pay.

Helping women achieve higher pay is a core goal of this book. But an even more important goal is helping women understand the tradeoffs involved - and to determine whether higher pay is worth the trade-offs. In my research, I have uncovered 25 differences in the way women and men behave in the workplace. Taken together, these 25 differences lead to men receiving higher pay and women having better lives, or at least more balanced lives.

Why Men Earn More gives both sexes many ways to both earn more money and have even better lives. For example, both men and women pharmacists average higher pay than doctors, and have both more control over their schedules and less pressure in their lives.

Similarly, most hazardous professions, such as the armed services, give a woman the same pay and benefits as a man for only a fraction of the hazards risked by her male counterpart. On the surface, this appears to benefit only women. But as men see what women do to remain safer in hazardous professions, it creates options for a man's safety as well.

Most of the 25 ways to higher pay offer every family new options. For example, we discover in the chapter "Doing Time" that a person working 45 hours per week averages 44% more income than someone working 40 hours per week. That's 44% more income for 13% more time. The implications? If you're a woman interested in both a high-powered career and healthy children, you'll discover when it benefits the children for Dad to be a full-time dad while you are the family's "financial womb."

In brief, Why Men Earn More helps men, women, and families discover which choices lead to higher pay, which lead to better lives, and which lead to both higher pay and better lives. Part Two looks at the contributions women are making to the workplace, how women's and men's differences can best support each other, and the continuing role of discrimination against women. The most original portion of Part Two is the chapters on the best-kept secrets about discrimination in favor of women (and against men), and the "Genetic Celebrity Pay Gap."

Woven throughout Why Men Earn More is also this hard news: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap (the remainder of the subtitle, in case you've forgotten!). As we look closely at men's and women's workplace decisions, it helps us see the gap in pay in a different light - why, for example, the gap in pay is much greater between never-married versus married men (62 cents to the dollar) than it is between women and men (80 cents to the dollar).

The startling truth behind the pay gap was discovered in the same journey that uncovered the 25 ways to bridge the gap. It's a journey that started one day when I was on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City ...

What Happened on the Way to the Gap in Pay?

During the three years I spent on the board of the National Organization for Women in New York City (from 1970 to 1973), my colleagues and I often wore a "59¢" pin to call attention to what we considered to be the pay gap at the time between women and men, and thus to recruit new members to fight against the embedded societal discrimination against women we felt this gap symbolized.

I accepted the 59 cents statistic so blindly that it took me two years to ask myself this question: "If an employer had to pay a man one dollar for the same work a woman could do for 59 cents, why would anyone hire a man?"

Put another way, "Wouldn't any employer who hired men for $1.00 soon be put out of business by someone who hired only women for 59 cents?" Few consumers would pay a dollar for the same product they could buy for 59 cents. In fact, the employer would go out of business hiring men at any level if women could do the same work for 59 cents.

I opened my mind to the possibility that, while business executives certainly did discriminate, business has a built-in system of punishments for those who do. The punishment is called "losing money." The penalty for repeat offenders is called "going out of business."

When I spoke with CEOs of large companies or even small business owners like Liz and her partner Greg (a.k.a. Cupid), they all felt they hired women in the hopes they would become successful. A successful woman is called a return on their investment. Their women employees' successes helped their own dreams come true. As one CEO told me, "My female employees' success is my job tenure." Men executives do not see themselves as threatened by successful women, but as being in search of successful women. They feel threatened by unsuccessful women. Ditto for men.

This made a few other things make sense. I knew Jewish and Japanese workers were subjected to discrimination, yet they earned more to the dollar than Caucasians. Employers who survived seemed to conquer prejudice for profit. Well, maybe not conquer prejudice, but at least put prejudice about an employee's background in one corner, if the employee put profits in their corner. Those who allowed their prejudice to rule them paid, in effect, "the discrimination tax."

Well, at least that was the possibility to which I was trying to open my mind.


Excerpted from Why Men Earn More by Warren Farrell Copyright © 2005 by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

Marty Nemko
Chose Why Men Earn More as one of, "Five great career books to read in 2006."
Career Coach, U.S. News & World Report online

Meet the Author

Warren Farrell, Ph.D. (Mill Valley, CA) is an internationally esteemed expert on gender issues, and the only man to have been elected three times to the board of directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. Financial Times named Dr. Farrell one of the world’s leading thought leaders. He has been interviewed by Larry King, Peter Jennings, and Barbara Walters, and has appeared many times on nationally syndicated TV shows such as Oprah, Donahue, and CNN’s Sonya Live. He is the author of many books, including the bestsellers Why Men are the Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power.

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