Women’s Lib is a Capitalist Plot

Women’s lib is a capitalist plot to exploit the last great source of cheap, high quality labor.

OK, now that I’ve made a statement designed to be extreme and arouse controversy it is time to look at the data a little differently.

In the recently released Census report on income and insurance one of the most interesting series was the one comparing male and female incomes. The part that gets attention is the report that female income for a full time, year round job is now 78% of what a male earns, up from 58% some 30 years ago. The press reports this as a good thing and I really do not disagree with that point

But the part that is generally ignored is the history of what has happened to wages over the last 30 years. If you look at this chart you see two patterns. One is that male real wages essentially quit rising in the mid-19790s and despite year to year fluctuations have been flat since then. In contrast, female wages have been on an uptrend. So the convergence between male and female wages is a balance of two trends: one is rising real female wages and the other is flat real male wages.The second chart that goes with the income data is the employment data. Since 1967 female trend employment growth has been 3.1% while male employment growth was only 1.5%.

The growth in male employment has been weaker than the growth in the male population so that the male employment population ratio has fallen. In contrast female employment growth has been faster than female population growth so that the female employment population ratio has been rising. Basically, this is looking at the growth in demand vs the growth in supply.
For males supply growth has outpaced demand growth and the consequence has been flat real incomes. For females demand or employment growth was greater that supply growth so real incomes rose. It is not shown in this chart, but one of the ways the male employment-population ratio has been falling is trough older males dropping out of the labor force.

But for the economy as a whole, at least at the margin, what we have been doing is replacing high paying male jobs with low paying female jobs. This has been a core problem in the US economy over the last 30 years. There are many ways to look at this, but the comparison of the growth in male-female employment and incomes clearly demonstrates these trends better than any other comparison I know of. For example another comparison is replacing manufacturing jobs with retail jobs and there are others. But they just do not demonstrate the point as well as the male-female comparison does.

If you go back to the first chart you see that the weighted average of male and female income has been flat. This is in line with many other series that show the same trend and has been difficult for many people to accept. But this changing composition of employment has been a driving force behind flat real income growth that should be easy for those doubting the overall trend to understand.

Ss after looking at this data how many agree with me that women’s lib is a capitalist plot to exploit the last big supply of cheap, high quality labor?