There’s a new MIT study that shows that female Uber drivers make less than their male counterparts, a revelation that is sure to make the upstart anti-taxi company the target of much feminist ire. Feminists love to talk about the gender pay gap, spewing phony statistics about how a woman makes only 75 cents for every dollar a comparably-positioned man makes. It’s the impetus behind initiatives like the Equal Pay Amendment, which would wreck the economy like nothing else the federal government has ever done. It’s what gets women excited about the feminist movement, even if they don’t feel strongly about some of the left’s wackier ideas.
Unfortunately, when it comes to wacky ideas, this issue about women making less than men is actually one of the wackiest.
The Uber study is the perfect example. Because yes, MIT found that female drivers make less than men. If you didn’t read past the headline, you might naturally assume that there’s some funny business going on here. But if you do read the study, you soon find that there are very good reasons for the pay gap.
“Women earned $130 less per week on average,” the study’s authors write, “in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.”
Um. Guys? How much did this study cost, exactly? Because guess what – we just found the problem! They drive less, they make less. What a revelation!
Okay, but to be fair, women also make less per hour than their male counterparts, so what’s the story there?
Well, the authors found that men are more often found driving in higher-paying locations, they tend to drive faster, take fares that are closer, and accept jobs that take longer to complete. These variables mean that men get paid more for their time behind the wheel than women – but there’s nothing in those choices that precludes a woman from making the same decisions. Men are hustling, basically, and women aren’t. Generally speaking, of course. We’re sure there are a few women Uber drivers out there making an absolute fortune. But on the whole, men seem to make better, more profitable decisions.
And this is exactly what studies find when they look at the myth of the gender pay gap. The gap exists (in certain industries, anyway), but there are reasons behind it that have nothing to do with sexism. Men work longer hours, they don’t quit their careers for a decade to go raise children, they come to the job with more education, etc., etc. You can’t erase the pay gap without deliberately tilting the field so that companies are forced to pay less-qualified, less-valuable women the same amount they pay more-qualified, more-valuable men. And you can’t do that without destroying everything that makes the free market…free!