From Broken Boys to Whole Men: #16 – Changes in the Gender Wage Gap

Despite my focus in this series on issues facing men and boys these days, women still objectively have it worse than men, as they have for a long time. In addition, men have long been silent about problems facing their gender out of a fear of looking weak or unable to better their situation. And so-called “men’s rights” advocates have tended to overreact on most of these issues, using them as an excuse to engage in misogynistic screeds.

I’ve been a feminist all my life, and so have long felt the injustice of women being paid only eighty percent of what men are paid; race and ethnicity account for an even greater wage disparity.

But we always have to look at the narratives that develop around phenomena like this and ask what we are now NOT seeing because of them.

In my last post, I looked at the rate of bachelor’s degree completion among those who identify as male or female, and observed that fifty percent of bachelor’s degrees are now obtained by women under thirty years of age.

Changes that we’re seeing in male-female wage disparities parallel this shift in male-female educational attainment. In other words, the disparity is narrowing not just because of women’s ambition and success, but because men and boys are slipping.

Studies and writing about this trend in the past few years have shined a light on boys’ and men’s lack of educational and career aspirations as a cause rather than somehow denigrating women’s improvement.

I’m also observing that particularly millennial men are more forthcoming in sharing painful parts of their experience, asking for help, and above all, exploring how the stories we tell ourselves about our lives shape how we see our lives and the potential for progress.

All of which points to the need, again, for men to seek community and end American society’s tendency to isolate men and pit them against each other.


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