For feminists, there has been a grand conspiracy perpetrated by the patriarchy to keep women down. Despite women dominating post-secondary studies, millennial ladies earning more than millennial gentlemen, and the female unemployment rate being lower than their gender counterpart’s, there is a paranoia that they are being stifled through sexism, misogyny, and a nefarious plot emanating from a Margaret Atwood novel.
One of the latest culprits of gender discrimination? Uber, the ride-hailing service behemoth.
It has been determined that female Uber drivers make 7% per hour – that’s $1.24 per hour or $130 per week – less than male Uber drivers.
Before you proceed to march on Washington sporting a pussy hat, it must be noted that gender blind algorithms calculate the pay for every driver. This means there isn’t a straight, white, Christian, male wearing a monocle and a MAGA hat purposely paying men more than women.
So, what exactly is behind the pay disparity? That’s what researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago – collaborating with Uber’s economic team – aimed to find out.
Study Finds Differences Between Genders
The new paper is titled “The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers.” Study authors examined how Uber remunerates its drivers, and the primary finding was that women earned less than men.
Like the overall gender pay gap myth, there were multiple variants to explain why this 7% pay gap exists. And it had more to do with behaviors and choices than anything else.
One-third of the earnings divergence can be explained by experience:
- Seventy-seven percent of women left Uber after just six months.
- Men work more hours each week.
- Women accept fewer trips.
- Men are less likely to quit the platform.
This is important, since drivers with at least 2,500 trips earn an average of $3 more per hour than users with fewer than 100.
It is estimated that half of the earnings disproportion is based on driving speed. The study discovered that men drive 2.2% faster than women; positive returns are expected when driving faster.
The rest of the pay gap (one-sixth) can be attributed to preferences:
- Men accept more short distance fares than women.
- Men take on longer trips than women.
- Men run routes with higher surge and lower wait times than women.
Essentially, there are three main factors: “experience, speed, and preferences for where to drive.”
“[There is] no evidence that outright discrimination, either by the app or by riders, is driving the gender earnings gap.”
To cover the difference, it was suggested (perhaps tongue in cheek) that Uber could increase its baseline pay to female drivers by 7%. Jonathan Hall, who helms the public policy and economics department at Uber, dismissed the idea as being “discriminatory.”
Equal Pay for Equal Work
Watch an awards show, attend a feminist rally, or go to any university campus, and you will notice women demanding equal pay for equal work. Former President Barack Obama signed similar legislation, Canada is underway tabling a bill, and Iceland has gone as far as mandating this concept. It’s a popular idea that generates instant applause and makes us feel good inside.
Equal pay for equal work is something that Uber offers to all drivers. Since women earn less than men at Uber, it is evidence that lifestyle choices, behavioral patterns, and gender characteristics play key roles in compensation, not patriarchal supremacy.
The latest findings can complement the realities of gender incomes in other industries. The 23-cent pay gap is not only disingenuous; it is a myth perpetrated on the public for political purposes. It’s flawed because it merely compares the incomes of all men and all women, while excluding the countless variables, such as career choice, negotiation skills, marital status, education, and interests.
In today’s world, women can do anything they want. Nothing is stopping them.
At Uber, they can accept as many passengers as they wish, drive as many routes as they want, and work for the company as long as they desire. Uber is not preventing women from doing any of those things. Females are the ones choosing to hit the brakes on their Uber careers, not men. The study is a lesson that we are not monolithic beings, and that not every pay difference can be attributed to sexism.
What is your opinion about the Uber study? Let us know in the comments section!
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