Moderators in Thursday’s gubernatorial debate for some reason spent 4.5 minutes on the subject of the “gender pay gap” but failed to mention that Democratic Gov. Janet Mills pays her female staffers less than her male staffers.
The Maine Wire’s analysis of state payroll data revealed a glaring gap between the pay men and women working for Mills receive.
“We’re doing a lot to try and equalize the pay,” Mills said.
As Governor, she has control over the salaries paid to employees working in her office.
Although progressives use the gender pay gap as a rhetorical device to attack corporations and Republicans over perceived systemic misogyny, and a lack of regulation, the gap in Maine is better understood as the result of different choices the sexes tend to make in their careers.
For example, Maine’s health care workers and teachers tend overwhelmingly to be women, while men tend to gravitate toward construction and manufacturing.
According to data from the Maine Dept. of Labor, 38.9 percent of Maine women in the work force are in education and health care, while on 12.8 percent of men work in those fields. Comparatively, 12.8 percent of employed Maine men work in construction, while only 1 percent of employed Maine women work in that field. That difference in the nature of the work men and women choose comes with a difference in levels of pay.
Men also tend to work longer hours than women, according to the state data.
In 2021, employed Maine men worked an average of 40.2 hours per week and employed Maine women worked 34.8 hours per week, according to the data.
Although the “gender pay gap” is little more than a rhetorical left-wing rhetorical device, if you’re going to bring it up in a debate and waste 4.5 minutes on it, viewers might find it relevant that at least one of the candidates on the stage is contributing to the pay gap.