Women Make only 75 Percent of What Men Make – Fact or Fiction?

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

Considering a Fixer-Upper? 15 Ways to Avoid a Money PitGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

20 Tips for Buying a Home in the Best Location, Location, LocationGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

Marijuana Stocks Flaming Out Under TrumpFamily

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

Last night NBC's Savannah Guthrie implied that women are paid only 75 percent of what men make for the same work. What she accomplished was to perpetuate the myth that women aren't good with numbers.

March is Women’s History Month, something we’ll be reporting on shortly with a couple of different news stories, including Women and Money – 4 Myths and 5 Money Tips for Women.

I’m against any and all forms of discrimination, workplace or otherwise, but I was appalled last night to watch NBC’s Savannah Guthrie tell a story using math that wasn’t just fuzzy – it was flat-out wrong.

In this news story, Gutherie talks about the White House report issued yesterday called Women in America [PDF], which reveals the changing role of women in American society in areas ranging from income equality to domestic violence.

After offering up some good news – that women are now just as likely as men to have a college degree – Guthrie gives us the bad news, saying, “But the report says women are still paid about 75 percent of what their male counterparts are paid.”

That’s followed by three soundbites. The first comes from Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser. She says, “It’s one thing to know something intuitively. It’s very different to have evidence that actually backs it up. This report gives us that evidence.”

Her next soundbite comes from a woman on the street: “Disgusting…disgusting…aggravating…annoying. I find it all the time when I’m job hunting.”

Then this one from another woman on the street: “I don’t understand why that still exists in 2011.”

Now, let’s stop here. What did you just hear? Did you hear that women make only 75 percent of what men make for the same job?  That’s certainly what’s implied: After all, the reporter said, “Women are still paid about 75 percent of what their male counterparts are paid.” But, in fact, that’s not what the numbers she’s quoting say.

The White House report presumably drew its numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. In this report, the Bureau provides some detail:

For full-time, year-round workers, the 2009 American Community Survey median earnings for women were 78.2 percent of men’s earnings – $35,549 compared with $45,485. As compared with 2008, median earnings for men were up from $45,161, median earnings for women were up from $35,104, and the ratio of women’s earnings to men’s earnings was up from 77.7.

In other words, the average overall annual earnings for women are less than the average overall annual earnings for men. What the Census Bureau doesn’t say is that women earn 75 percent of what men earn for the same job.

The reason women have lower average earnings than men is a complex topic (there’s a ton of information at this Wikipedia page) and some of it may certainly be due to wage discrimination.  But other factors – like male-dominated professions (mechanics) earning more than female dominated ones (cosmetologists) – may also play a part.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not suggesting that sex-based wage discrimination is nonexistent in America. But for a national newscast to imply that females are being paid significantly less than their male counterparts for the same job, then stopping people on the street to get their reaction, is not only irresponsible and sensationalistic journalism: It diverts attention from a useful discussion.

Bottom line? Women overall take home less money than men every year: fact. Women only earn 75 cents for every dollar men earn for the same job: fiction.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 7 Things Worth Paying More For

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,007 more deals!