Instigator / Pro

The Gender Wage Gap is not an example of patriarchy.


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Gender = Defined here as only men and women, for that is what the "wage gap" is centered around.
Wage Gap= Differences in earnings between men and women, calculated by taking ALL full-time male workers and ALL full-time female workers, calculating the average, not accounting for several different variables.
Patriarchy= A (supposed or not) system of power that benefits men and subjugates women.

PRO'S BURDEN: Prove that the wage gap is not an exxample of patriarchy.
CON'S BURDEN: Prove that the wage gap IS an exmple of patriarchy.

Round 1
Thank you very much @Barney for accepting this debate. I look forward to a rigorous interaction...


As described in full description.


A. The Gender Wage Gap does not exist, at least not as most people think it does

First, we have to answer some questions: 

How is the wage gap calculated?

The gender wage gap is calculated by counting ALL adult full-time (more than 35 hours/week) female workers, of all proffesions, ages etc, adding their earnings (usually monthly) and taking the average. The same is done for men. So, we can understand that a female MANAGER is counted in conjunction with a female BARWOMAN. Plus, a female BARWOMAN is compared with a male DOCTOR and a male MANUAL LABOURER. 

Can the pay gap be explained?

Since the 1980s, economic scientists have proven that (recent sources quoted at the end), this figure is JUST a number, as it doesn't take into account;
A) Differences in working hours
B) Differences in productivity
C) Differences in character traits
D) Differences in paid and unpaid leave
E) Differences in career orientation and choice

For these variables unaccounted for, the wage gap stand at a 12-17 cents deficit, according to the study.

However, IF we run a multivariant analysis on the statistic of the pay gap, it turns out that discrimination is just ONE of EIGHTEEN factors at play, accounting for less than 1.5% of the total pay gap. If we take the 14 cents figure, this would mean that discrimination only accounts for 0.21 cents of the difference. 

The rest can be attributed to the  aforementioned factors.

CONCLUSION: Just a number, reflecting (mostly) different choices, not discrimination. 


"Differences in character traits".

According to the OCEAN acronym describing personality, men and women portray differences in:

A) Aggreeableness
B) Neurotisicm
Both of which are found in higher degrees in women.


"The Big Five Personality Traits
  • Openness to experience. Sometimes called intellect or imagination, this represents the willingness to try new things and think outside the box. Traits include insightfulness, originality and curiosity.
  • Conscientiousness. The desire to be careful, diligent and to regulate immediate gratification with self-discipline. Traits include ambition, discipline, consistency and reliability.
  • Extroversion. A state where an individual draws energy from others and seeks social connections or interaction, as opposed to being alone (introversion). Traits include being outgoing, energetic and confident.
  • Agreeableness The measure of how an individual interacts with others, characterised by degree of compassion and co-operation. Traits include tactfulness, kindness and loyalty.
  • Neuroticism. A tendency towards negative personality traits, emotional instability and self-destructive thinking. Traits include pessimism, anxiety, insecurity and fearfulness.  "
What do higher levels of neuroticism and aggreeableness mean for women?

A) Less likely to be antagonistic (thus seek higher pay or be competitive against rival company, a triat desired at the top positions of companies)
B) More likely to be emotionally unstable and have higher levels of stress, pessimism, insecurity and fearfulness. This means that such people (in this case most women) cannot lead a nation/company as well as people with lower levels of neuroticism could (in this case most men). Why? Because in order to be a leader, you have to be able to set your emotions aside, think logically and not have your judgement impaired by anxiety, pessimism and insecurity. 

OF COURSE, this does not mean that ALL women are incapable to lead (well), it just means that less women are as capable leaders as men, so few will rise at the top and stay there.



(Those are just SOME of the scholarly sources I could find using JUST Google Scholar.)

CONCLUSIONS: If we run a multivariant analysis on the gender pay gap, actual discrimination is PRACTICALLY non-existent and quite rare, and the wage gap's figure is either eliminated or greatly diminished.

Awaiting for your response.
I give pro credit for his cunning. A little bait and switch, then a strange limiting definition for the pay gap to be used as a straw man without dealing with the real issues.

The problem is I know this issue well enough that I could tackle either side of it blindfolded. To such ends, I shall write this introductory round without so much as skimming pro’s case (fairly common for rebuttals to be in R2 anyways).

I shall first disprove any potential case from pro using tautology, and then bolster my own with an educational segment. These shall have the following sections.
  1. Is–Ought Problem
  2. Unadjusted vs Adjusted

1. Is–Ought Problem:
The problem for pro is that he’s (most likely, again, haven’t read it yet) engaging in an argument of ignorance, not realizing when the same rules of ignorance are applied his case fails on first contact. To quote Mike Tyson, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Patriarchy is apparently a “supposed or not” system which places men above women. And the wage gap (even if flawed) is a common example of that.
  • The patriarchy drives women into lower paying professions by discrimination [1],
  • The patriarchy and wage gap in the tech sector is decreasing, proving they exists [2], and
  • The patriarchy, through religion, represses women’s pay [3].
Are these great examples? Of course not, and yet they remain examples nonetheless of how the patriarchy influences the pay gap. Examples need only illustrate something to count as examples. Bad examples too are often used to make points, such as learning from bad grammar [4]. Should the amount of the pay gap communicate anything about the patriarchy (such as it declining) it is still serving as an example about the patriarchy.

This is much like a conversation about how long to wait before having sex (be it after marriage, or once the McNuggets are cold), is still a conversation about sex.

If something ought to not be used as an example, does not transform it into not an example.

If the illustration (AKA, example) is grainy, badly cropped, or otherwise; does not make it not an illustration.

This debate is not on if the pay gap is a good example, just if it’s an example at all, and as I have already shown, it is.

With that behind us, please vote pro, and we can proceed to the bonus educational section of this debate.

2. Unadjusted vs Adjusted
The unadjusted Gender Pay Gap is a well known example of an apples to oranges comparison.
It is easily corrected by even the most basic data mining techniques into the adjusted Gender Pay Gap via matching like items within the population [5]; such as men and women with the same occupation, education, years experience, and more.

The unadjusted is usually said to be something like women earn 30% less pay overall.
The adjusted varies by region, race, occupation, etc. For some it even dips to as low as 1%, as reported by the Society for Human Resource Management [6]. For minimum wage workers it even balances out (due to the minimum being the same for both).

The key takeaway being that a discussion of the unadjusted, does not rule out the adjusted, as the adjusted is entirely contained within the unadjusted.

The adjusted is just an apples to apples subset for proper comparison within the unadjusted.

Due to the patriarchy’s influence, historically male dominated professions have a much worse Gender Pay Gap. A successful woman displacing a man, is less rewarded for her efforts than the man of lesser ability would be. Conversely, men frequently enjoy less barriers to entry and less prejudice in pay when entering historically female dominated professions.

Female doctors earn less than comparable male doctors. According to Timothy Hoff, PhD:
“female doctors earn significantly less than men, often tens of thousands of dollars less annually, despite similar demographic and work-related profiles. This earnings gap is persistent across time, medical specialty, and country of practice” [7].

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, federal jobs suffer a $0.07 Pay Gap, with only $0.01 explained by education, word history, etc., and the remaining $0.06 due to “factors that cannot be measured, such as discrimination”  [8, page 2 for a graph].

According to researcher Rosalía Vázquez-Álvarez, it’s a “fact that women tend to have lower wage returns for their education than men, even when they work in the same occupational category” [9].

This gets worse when we consider that the patriarchy also denies qualified women access to higher paying jobs (greatly widening the unadjusted Gender Pay Gap), such as in Pakistan where female workers are paid 62.5% less [10]. Which is admittedly better than Afghanistan, where they are murdered for desiring an education, and are outright barred from most of the skilled work fields [11].

Round 2
Of course, extend.

My opponent has conceded via the comment section [1]. Hopefully we’ll be doing a rematch in not too long. That said, I’ll still give feedback on his R1.

A. The Gender Wage Gap does not exist, at least not as most people think it does
“At least not as most people think it does” is the key missing phrase from most dismissals of the gap.

“ALL adult full-time” 
The unadjusted gap is bad science. It leads to extreme results to get attention, but is emotional manipulation.

For this type of debate, it’s better to focus on the adjusted since that’s where anyone with intellectual integrity will take it (I suppose the alternative is to repeat findings from the unadjusted as a pathos appeal).

Neatly women average a little more in the service industry (I can’t recall if that was before or after making it an adjusted comparison), whereas in the USA men average $43K more as physicians (it remains at tens of thousands in the adjusted).

“career orientation and choice”
Some will argue the patriarchy denies them a choice. I used rather extreme examples from other nations, where they are really denied a choice. In general in the Western World, I’d say they inherited some social pressures from past generations, influencing but not outright controlling their choice.

“discrimination only accounts for 0.21 cents of the difference”
That’s still a sexism based pay gap; thematically, the patriarchy.

Round 3
This one has been won by barney because I didn't make the deadline.
Nonetheless, I will continue the discussion with my own points based on his r2. (i'll leave his r1 arguments for the actual rematch).


"0.21 cents still is patriarchy (paraphrasing)."

Patriarchy is defined as a system of discrimination and prejudice aimed at systemically benefiting men and subjugating women.

Do you really want to argue that a 0.21 cent deficit is attributed to  a systemical patriarchy ? Because I would say that it can be attributed to a few, tiny few, margin of higher-ups (usually male), who are INDIVIDUALLY sexist towards their employees.

"Physicians that are women are paid less than men."

Well, physicians do not have a set wage and their earnings depend on supply and demand. While you could say that an invisible patriarchy aimes patients to choose male professionals, I would argue it is more attributable on the averagely higher physical strength of males and higher availability of male proffesionals compared to women.

As a final note, I would say that sexism and discrimination COULD NOT BE FOUND even in the adjusted wage gap, If we applied ALL available categories.

For example, you cannot possibly have a study that divides male and female workers into 
1) equal productivity
2) equal hours worked
3) equal work leaves
4) equal qualifications
5) equal physical strength.

You cannot possibly adjust for ALL THESE FACTORS COMBINED, because

A) No statistical scientist can ever have a funding so high as to conduct such a research.
B) The sample would always be too long as too divide people in such a group it would require more or less 10 million people in the least as a sample.
C) (example of just 2 of the factors) If you divide men and women by virtue of having worked equal hours, then you don't have the ability to divide them into a subcategory of equal productivity as well. {(In general, not only are men statistically more productive, they also work more hours. Without such men, civilisation would collapse. Electricity, construction, shipping, water infrastructure, commuting, manual labor etc etc would die or greatly diminish in numbers and/or quality, resulting in a lower standard of living and unimaginable inflation rates.)} So, in order to adjust to productivity, women would always have to work more hours than men to reach their productivity. (on AVERAGE), resulting in lower wages still. Meanwhile, adjusting for equal hours worked, men would be more productive in this time period (on AVERAGE), so they still would get paid more (on AVERAGE).

What I am trying to say is that it is not the result of a patriarchy, but rather a result of different strength, education, choices, personalities etc.

As long as we are not able to adjust for all factors simultaneously, we can't possibly conclude as to what is the figure of discrimination. It could theoretically be 9%, 2%, 0.0000001% or none at all. So no study or debate contender can demonstrate that the pay gap is an example of the patriarchy, because patriarchy depends on the levels of discrimination and in this case they can't be measured....

(Excuse any expression mistakes)
“0.21 cents”
I previously misread that. If the data shows that a woman are paid a difference of less than a penny, I would call that evidence that the Pay Gap has effectively closed.

“it can be attributed to a few, tiny few, margin of higher-ups (usually male), who are INDIVIDUALLY sexist towards their employees.”
We have a pretty broad definition of patriarchy. We don’t need it to be a secret cabal, lead by Hillary Clinton, which also sacrifices babies under a pizza joint. We just need enough high ranking misogynists to have a widespread effect against women reflected in their pay scale.

Odd thing, I once got into an argument with someone at university who was convinced their magic super blood made their ethnicity too genetically superior to be capable of racism. When confronted with various examples of members of their ethnicity committing racially based hate crimes, they came up with the bizarre logic that racism only exists on the systemic level, so it’s impossible for individuals to be racist… Which I responded to by asking for verification that they believe it’s impossible for Donald Trump to be racist, since he’s just an individual… As you can imagine, he only got more insane from there, going so far as to praise Hitler’s final solution (he just thought it wasn’t targeting enough white people).

Sorry that got long winded… What I mean to say is that systems are made of people. Systemic problems only exist with the aid of individuals who uphold and/or create the flaws in the system.

“is more attributable on the averagely higher physical strength of males”
This was in reference to physicians, not construction workers.

“higher availability of male proffesionals compared to women”
This was already factored out in the adjusted Gender Pay Gap.

Simplifying it: If you had 10 male physicians and 1 female physician, you'd use the average from each group (as much as this sample size would be too small to have any worthy degree of statistical confidence). If the sample size is sufficiently large, then more and more factors can be cross checked for their degree of influence.

“you cannot possibly have a study that divides male and female workers into…”
You’d be amazed at the number of data points which can be easily recorded by automatic processes [1]. While how much weight they bench press is very unlikely to be directly recorded, if it affects their work such will be reflected in throughput.

“You cannot possibly adjust for ALL THESE FACTORS COMBINED”
If true, that would make the role of sexism in pay impossible to disprove.
However, data mining with machine learning makes it fairly easy for a skilled analyst to find the covariance and make conclusions to within statistically significant confidence levels.

Round 4
In case anyone is curious, I used the extreme cases to highlight to undeniable connection to the patriarchy. For which the USA isn't far removed from. Heck in some states evil politicians are trying to deny women the choice to not be mothers, and motherhood is the main correlated factor for the wage gap.

Anyways, please vote con due to pro's forfeitures and concession.