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The #AskHerMore Twitter campaign encouraged reporters to ask female Oscar nominees about more than just than their fashion choices. Hearing more about their films? Great. But hearing more from nominees, of either gender, about public policy is often not a path to viewer enlightenment — particularly if their film has nothing to do with that particular issue. Example:
Patricia Arquette used her big win at the Oscars on Sunday as an opportunity to talk about an issue that is extremely important to her — women’s rights. In accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Boyhood,” Arquette read from a sheet of paper and began her comments by thanking her children. At the end of her speech, Arquette made a call for action on women’s rights and argued that it’s time for women to renew the push for equal pay. “We have fought about everyone else’s right,” Arquette, 46, said. “It’s about time we fought for our own; it’s about time we have equal pay and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
I don’t know about Hollywood — I will give Arquette the benefit of the doubt about her own industry — but studies suggest overall that 5% or maybe less of the gender difference in worker pay has to do with discrimination vs. the fact that men a) work longer hours than women, b) work at more dangerous and financially risky jobs, c) have greater years of continuous work experience on average, and d) choose college majors with more value in the marketplace. AEI’s Andrew Biggs and Mark Perry:
Some gender discrimination in the labor market certainly does exist. But the best solution isn’t more lawsuits. In fact, the Obama administration’s proposal to shift the burden of proof in gender discrimination cases against employers would make hiring a female employee a potential legal liability for employers, and thus employers would hire fewer women.
What female workers need is a vibrant and competitive workplace, since it is competition that weeds out discrimination. When one employer discriminates against women, a new employer could earn a windfall profit by hiring an all-female workforce and paying them slightly more. … Several studies have shown that as industries faced increased competition, through either deregulation or international trade, the gender pay gap shrank. And the pay gap is larger in monopoly markets without competition and smaller in start-ups and small businesses that must be productive in order to survive. Women need more markets, more enterprise, and more opportunity, not more regulation and litigation.
And actually, the job market may be improving for women vs. men, per this story today in the New York Times: “Health Care Opens Stable Career Path, Often for Women.“Published in