More than anything, this is just a post as to have another handy reference when it comes to arguing with MRA’s and other assorted people about ‘equality’ and ‘parity’ in the work environment.  A big thanks to Sociological Images for compiling the information in the post titled “Explaining Gender Inequalities in Salary Expectations”.

The following chart featured at The Economist illustrates that women in Europe expect to earn significantly less than men after graduating from university. (Of course, women’s expectations are represented in pink, and men’s in blue.) According to the study, European women attending the most prestigious universities expect to earn an average of 21 per cent less than their male counterparts.

Given that women actually do earn an average of 17.5 per cent less than men in the European Union, this difference in salary expectations might not seem shocking. What’s interesting, though, is the accompanying text that attempts to explain these disparities:

Women and men seem to differ in workplace and career aspirations, which may explain why salary expectations differ.  Men generally placed more importance on being a leader or manager than women (34% of men versus 22% of women), and want jobs with high levels of responsibility (25% v 17%). Women, however want to work for a company with high corporate social responsibility and ethical standards; men are more interested in prestige (31% v 24%).

By neglecting to address how our social environment can contribute to reported differences in career aspirations, statements like these risk reinforcing gender stereotypes and naturalizing salary inequalities. Can we really assume that gendered salary disparities are due to women’s innately lower inclination to pursue high-paying career paths?

Research says: no, we can’t. [Go to Sociological Images for the rest of the story].