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Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men--And What to Do About It 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743296397
ISBN-10: 0743296397
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More than 40 years after the Civil Rights Act prohibited gender bias in the workplace, women are still earning almost 25% less than comparably employed men. For Murphy, the reason why is obvious: persistent unintentional, and sometimes even intentional, discrimination. "Today's conventional wisdom about what causes the gender wage gap ignores anything that happens behind employers' doors," Murphy, who has a doctorate in economics and is a former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, points out. To open those doors, she examined scores of recent lawsuits, which provided her with more than 200 pages worth of stories and statistics guaranteed to convince even the most satisfied working woman that on-the-job discrimination is "still with us, and it's not going away on its own." Murphy, with the help of Graff, a senior correspondent for the American Prospect, analyzes five types of discrimination--"blatant sex discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace sex segregation, everyday discrimination and discrimination against mothers"--and calculates that, over a lifetime, each working woman loses between $700,000 and $2 million because of them--that means less money for bills, homes, investments and retirement plans. As an antidote, the book's last third offers detailed case studies of MIT, Mitsubishi and the state of Minnesota, working sites that, under pressure, implemented large-scale changes to address inequities. Murphy gives readers the tools and the inspiration they'll need to tackle individual discrimination issues without necessarily going to court, but her goal is obviously larger than that. As the president of the WAGE Project, she aims to rile the public at large into action so that the wage gap can be closed, for good, in the next 10 years.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[Getting Even]...calls for nothing short of another American revolution that enlists the public, top executives, and men as well as women in the cause of fairness."

-- The Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (October 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743296397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743296397
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a jumping off point I want to say that the comments by previous reviewer William Wentworth suggest to me that he stopped reading the book very early. Wentworth explains away the wage gap as being tied to women working shorter hours and (incorrectly) says that Murphy missed this. In chapters other than the first one, Murphy goes on to analyze that women are paid less because they work fewer hours, but that women work fewer hour because of having more housework and childcare responsibilities. She goes through case studies of women who after having children were pushed toward shorter hours by their employers. We have different expectations for men and women as a society and we tend to push men into roles that are entirely compensated while we push women into roles that are uncompensated. That means men have more money than women. Also as Murphy points out, even at the same number of hours women get paid less, and a partial cause for that is that loosing a bit of experience early on in a career by taking time off or on part-time has repurcussions later. The wage gap is a complex issue, and Murphy is describing it in such a way that an average person without so much background in this area can grasp the situation. She does a good job at hitting many many facets of the problem without oversimplifying.

For me the biggest flaw here was that Murphy relies heavily on case studies of the women she interviewed. These demonstrate discrimination that was sometimes subtle and sometimes suprisingly blatant. At the same time, one can always find a case study to prove anything. Murphy has statistics too, but that isn't what she tends to rely on. Another flaw was that Murphy is really pushing her solution to the wage gap.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book as a free giveaway at a women's gym I used to attend, and I let it languish for a few months before I actually read it. Once I started, though, I couldn't put it down. Murphy categorically examines the ways in which women are short-changed, from mommy tracking to outright harassment. The stories she tells are strangely familiar, either because you've either experienced them yourself, or know someone who has.

The best part of this book is the last section, with action ideas for women on how to combat getting even. There are plenty of books that explore the wage gap, but this is the best one I know of, because it tells women what to do about it.
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe that companies and individuals can still get away with this extraordinarily misogynist behavior, but Murphy and Graff have done the legwork and the math to prove not only that they do, but how they do it and how we can begin to put an end to it. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who is or loves a woman or girl and believes that women should be treated with basic human decency (and paid that way, too).
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Format: Hardcover
Evelyn Murphy uses personal stories and anecdotes to build a plausible case of discrimination around her core "fact". I could have matched every story she has collected with a similar story by a male. Personal stories are for human interest, not for serious arguments. Murphy needs to employ a reputable economist before she writes a book whose entire premise rests on any comparisons of "full-time workers". She claims this gives a comparison of "apples and apples". But it does not. The fragility of her cornerstone is most true for simple comparisons of pay averages for men and women. What are we comparing when we compare pay averages of full-time workers?

The definition of "full-time" includes all those who regularly work thirty-five hours a week or more for a simple majority of weeks during the measured year. "Full-time" work lumps together those who usually work thirty-five hours per week with those who regularly work 50-60 hour weeks and some who might be working 100 hour weeks. It also classifies those who worked 27 weeks with those who worked 52 weeks. That is, the measure is very muddy. Hours worked per year affect pay directly for those payed on a hourly wage and for overtime. Hours worked can also affect pay indirectly in a number of ways, including changing the likelihood of pay increases, bonuses and promotions. Women who work 35-39 hours a week earn 109% more than males with similar hours but only 64% of males who work 40-44 hours per week, but they are both full -time workers. Is the full-time comparison fair?

Males work 128% of female hours and are paid 130% of the median income. Females work 78% of male hours and are paid 74% of the median income. This statistic, naked as it is, indicates a scant 1.
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