The commonly quoted 77 cents a woman earns for each dollar a man earns is technically correct but taken out of context.
It is comparing apples to oranges.
That number comes from taking the average annual salary of full-time working women across the USA and comparing it to the average annual salary of men.
It is not comparing women and men working in the same position.
It is not even comparing the same number of hours worked.
A women working 35 hours per week as a bank teller could be compared to a male neuroscientist working 80 hours per week. If we asked how come the bank teller doesn’t make the same amount, we would all know that is ridiculous.
It is known that men work more hours than women.
This is largely because women generally tend to be the ones to care for children while their husbands work.
The way I came to this conclusion is through a simple question:
Why would anyone hire men if they can get away with paying so much less for women?
If someone could do that and get away with it, all companies would be forced to follow suit and all men would be out of work.
It is obviously false when looking at it from a broad perspective.
Men also tend to work the most dangerous jobs with the most workplace fatalities and injuries.
But the reason I say mostly a myth in the title, is because there is some truth in some professions where men earn more than women with the same job and experience.
Women on average score higher on the psychological trait of agreeableness, which leads them to avoid confrontation and they are less likely to ask for a raise.
This is a biological difference between male and female brains, most likely evolved so women are better suited to care for children.
However, workplaces that have identified such discrepancies between male and female wages should work towards measures to eliminate that gap completely.
This could be done through a structured, scheduled advancement pay scales that everyone must follow to make pay even for the same work.