Income Inequality? Google Was Paying Women More Than Men for Same Job

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There’s a gender pay gap at tech giant Google. It just might not be the type that you’re thinking of.

According to The New York Times, the company conducted an audit to find out whether female employees were being paid less than their male counterparts.

What the study discovered, though, is that men were being paid less than women in similar positions, leading to almost $10 million in payouts to even out the gap.

“When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found, to the surprise of just about everyone, that men were paid less money than women for doing similar work,” The Times reported Monday.

“The study, which disproportionately led to pay raises for thousands of men, is done every year, but the latest findings arrived as Google and other companies in Silicon Valley face increasing pressure to deal with gender issues in the workplace, from sexual harassment to wage discrimination.”

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The Times noted, with some degree of understatement, that the issue of gender equality “is a radioactive topic at Google.”

Most are likely familiar with the memo circulated by Google engineer James Damore in which he argued that gender diversity initiatives at the company were problematic and that imbalances between men and women in the tech fields were due to gender differences and not social roles. The paper led to Damore’s dismissal.

The controversies go beyond that, however. The Labor Department is looking into whether the company is underpaying female employees. The company has faced internal protests for how it handles sexual harassment allegations against top employees, and it still faces lawsuits from women who claim they were paid less than men or hired at lower levels than male candidates with similar experience.

Somewhat predictably, Google backpedaled from the results of the latest study with all due haste.

Do you think there's a gender pay gap?

“Critics said the results of the pay study could give a false impression,” The Times reported. “Company officials acknowledged that it did not address whether women were hired at a lower pay grade than men with similar qualifications.

“Google seems to be advancing a ‘flawed and incomplete sense of equality’ by making sure men and women receive similar salaries for similar work, said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a consulting company that advises companies on strategies for increasing diversity. That is not the same as addressing ‘equity,’ she said, which would involve examining the structural hurdles that women face as engineers.”

Structural hurdles or not, the study ended up prodding Google to even things out with quite a bit of cash.

“In response to the study, Google gave $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees for this year. Men account for about 69 percent of the company’s work force, but they received a higher percentage of the money,” The Times reported. “The exact number of men who got raises is unclear.”

Well, at least Google officials found an actual wage gap, although it’s not quite the one they expected to find. Finding the actual wage gap — you know, the one where women allegedly earn 77 cents for every dollar men make — is a bit harder.

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I could explain it in depth, but I probably couldn’t do it as quickly, simply or as thoroughly as Christina Hoff Sommers does it in this video for PragerU:

So, yes, the gender wage gap is a myth — apparently even more so at Google.

That’s not going to stop the lawsuits, and questions remain as to how the company dealt with sexual harassment claims. Which is funny, considering that we’re dealing with one of the most liberal corporate cultures that there is.

Either way, it’s yet another small sign that pay and gender are a much more complex thing than liberals might want to have you believe.

It’s also a pay gap that you’re not going to see any writers over at Jezebel complaining about.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture