Why do more college-educated women continue to prefer Democratic candidates over Republican? Surely they are smart enough to understand that capitalism (preferred by Republicans), though not perfect, provides a higher standard of living than socialism (preferred by Democrats)!

Perhaps they simply are too busy working to pay off student loans, while trying to balance a career and motherhood, to notice. These women seem to fall for the line Democrats trot out before every election about the wage gap. It goes like this: Women working full-time make only 82 percent of what a man makes. It’s not fair. No matter how hard you work you are going to wind up on the short end of the stick – and, of course, you need Democrats to save you from this ugly form of discrimination.

Democrats are the party that is against all forms of discrimination unless, of course, it involves discrimination against men in general and white and Asian men in particular.

However, an important new study that should put the lid on the politics of the wage gap was served up just as we were shopping for the Thanksgiving meal and preparing our homes for holiday guests. Therefore, you may have missed it.

It was done by two Harvard economists, Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel. They went to a most unlikely place to look for discrimination, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The MBTA is the very last place you would expect to find a wage gap since it is a union shop where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and promotions are made strictly on the basis of seniority. Even in this highly controlled environment that does not reward employees on the bases of ability, work ethic, attitude, etc., female workers only earned $.89 to $.92, from 2011-2017, for every $1 earned by their male counterparts.

What gives?

Bolotnyy and Emanuel found, as many have done before, that this difference in pay can be explained by the choices men and women make in the workplace. Surprise, surprise! Women value time and flexibility more than men.

Women take more unpaid time off using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 52 percent more to be exact, and work fewer overtime hours than men. When overtime hours are scheduled three months in advance, men and women worked a similar number of hours; but when those hours were offered at the last minute, men worked nearly twice as many overtime hours.

Also, when selecting work schedules, women tried to avoid weekend, holiday and split shifts more than their male counterparts. To avoid unfavorable work times, women prioritized their schedules over route safety, even selecting routes with a higher probability of accidents in order to be home when their kids were out of school. Also, women were less likely than men to game the scheduling system by trading off work hours at regular wages for overtime hours at premium wages.

Yes, the “mommy gap” is real! In married households, women tend to take on the major child-rearing role. Therefore, they opt for time off over the almighty dollar. Dads step up to the plate and volunteer for more overtime than their single counterparts in order to provide more money for the family.

Another interesting finding: The difference in time vs. money is even more pronounced among single parents. It could be because women are better at networking and don’t mind swapping childcare duties with other moms, while dads are more likely to hire babysitters or give the children back to their moms when they choose to work overtime.

Nevertheless, the MBTA tried its best to erase this onerous pay gap by making it harder to take unpaid time off and making it harder to make more money by trading regular hours for overtime. These changes narrowed the gap by only 3 cents to the detriment of everyone. As women had less flexibility, many were forced to take unexcused time off, which put them at risk for discipline and termination.

Feminists will tell us that this study shows that women are still oppressed because they clearly spend more time caring for their children than do men. Conversely, men can argue that this study shows they are oppressed because they are “forced” to earn more money for their families. Then, again, was it simply about the choices each made voluntarily?

The radical feminists try to prove that men and women are interchangeable fungibles. It simply is not true. The study on the MBTA is a cautionary tale of what happens when, in a feminist utopia, the ability to make choices is eliminated.

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