Is the City of Albuquerque “Jumping the Gun” on “gender equity?”

The City of Albuquerque has received some positive public relations in recent weeks for tackling the supposed issue of gender equity. Mayor Berry recently advanced new legislation to further the City of Albuquerque’s efforts to bridge the gender pay gap. In August of 2013 the City of Albuquerque was the first in the nation to adopt gender equity reforms at the municipal level.

Lest one believe that the City is just angling for public relations purposes, The Women’s Pay Equity Task Force completed its work in late 2014, and forwarded recommendations to Mayor Berry. Recommendations include establishment of a 5% incentive preference for businesses who can demonstrate that they are moving towards gender pay equity in their companies. Of course, with the makeup of the task force which included radical feminist Martha Burk (who has stated her support for mandatory birth control for men), any other result would have been a real shock.

But all of this is merely tiptoeing around the real questions: “Is there a gender pay gap and if so, how much is it?” For starters, no one who actually studies the issue believes, as does President Obama, that women make only 77% of what men do. According to economists June and Dave O’Neill who studied the issue for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap can be attributed to factors other than discrimination. The O’Neills conclude that, labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% of the gender pay gap but may not be present at all.

So, the gender pay gap, if it exists at all, is about 5%. That is worth discussing and perhaps working to overcome, but one would have to more fully understand what, if any pay gap exists in businesses that do business with the City of Albuquerque. Opening up an entire new area to rules and regulations without adequate information could make the “cure” worse than the supposed problem.

After all, even President Obama hasn’t acted to resolve the 13% pay gap experienced by female employees at the White House.

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