Society and Culture

The AAUW spin sisters strike again

Image credit: Ctrouper (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image credit: Ctrouper (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

This afternoon, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will release its newest “research” report, Graduating with a Pay Gap. This report, according to the AAUW pre-publicity, is “an update of the 2007 AAUW report, Behind the Pay Gap, which found that just one year after college graduation, women are paid only 80 cents for every dollar men are paid.” Can the AAUW be trusted? Consider its record.

The 2007 report does give readers the impression that millennial women are facing serious workplace discrimination. But buried on page 18, we find this qualification: “After controlling for all the factors known to affect earnings, college-educated women earn about 5 percent less than college-educated men earn. Thus, while discrimination cannot be measured directly, it is reasonable to assume that this pay gap is the product of discrimination.” As Steve Chapman noted in Reason, “Another way to put it is that three-quarters of the gap clearly has innocent causes—and that we actually don’t know whether discrimination accounts for the rest.”

The AAUW was once a serious women’s organization. Since the early nineties, it has devolved into a hard-nosed, K Street-style special interest group that stops at nothing to defend its “women are victims” narrative. In 2008, Linda Hallman, the AAUW executive director, announced her organization’s determination to continue to “break through barriers” for women and girls­­ – and not to allow “adversaries” to obstruct its mission:

Our adversaries know that AAUW is a force to be reckoned with, and that we have ‘staying power’ in our dedication to breaking through the barriers that we target. … We ARE Breaking through Barriers. We mean it; we’ve done it before; and we are ‘coming after them’ again and again and again, if we have to! All of us, all the time.”(AAUW emphasis)

It is hard to imagine such a warning coming from Brookings, AEI, or the Urban Institute — or indeed, any research center that warrants serious attention. Yet in the past, newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have presented AAUW research as if it were trustworthy. Linda Hallman has boasted in the AAUW newsletter that “The AAUW’s ability to capture media attention demonstrates the power and credibility of our message.” Not so. Capturing media attention and being credible are distinct phenomena. What it demonstrates is the AAUW’s preternatural ability to lobby, to network, and to spin.

It is possible we will all be pleasantly surprised and the new report will be different from the reckless advocacy research the group has sponsored in the past. The record suggests otherwise. Stay tuned.

11 thoughts on “The AAUW spin sisters strike again

  1. WINNSBORO, La. (AP) — Forensic evidence indicates that a 20-year woman suffering from extensive burns set herself on fire then invented a story about being doused in flammable liquid by three men who she said also wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car, state police said Tuesday.

    On Sunday at 8 p.m., Sharmeka Moffitt called 911 from a walking trail in Winnsboro and told authorities she had been doused in flammable liquid by three men wearing white hoodies. She suffered extensive burns on more than half her body and was taken to LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport for treatment.

    Then there was the Duke LAX team.

  2. These groups that have NOTHING to complain about, continue to complain…PETA, NAACP, NOW, ATA…and the list goes on…truely amazing, what started out as a true cause, has now become a cancer

    • Hey, I am a proud member of PETA (People for Eating Tasty Animals), and our cause has never been more important! Did you know that every year there are thousands of baby cows that are not eaten?!

      Since these things do not translate well, let it be noted my above comment was a jest all in good fun. Although I do enjoy eating tasty animals.

  3. My daughter is an engineer and utterly refuses to have anything to do with these so called “feminist” (socialist) fools. She believes what the left, and the feminist movement by association do not, and that is that one should be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, or sex, or sexuality, etcetera. She is not, and refuses to be a victim, and looks upon these pathetic boobs (heh) with the disgust that they deserve.

  4. You can’t measure your pet causal variable, so you just hang its name (“sex discrimination”) on the unexplained variance. OK, I think I’ll call it “Timmy” instead.

    Problem is, many or most of your explanatory variables (often from self-reports) contain a lot of measurement error — random, systematic, and everything in between. And measurement error reduces correlations and creates unexplained variance.

    Until somebody demonstrates otherwise, I’ll assume “Timmy,” like “sex discrimination,” is just another name for measurement error.

  5. One of the big factors is that many women graduate with degreesl that have little value such as literature, no value at all such as sociology or negative value such as women’s studies.

  6. There’s actually as many as 25 factors that have nothing to do with employer discrimination that lead to women having lower average salaries than men. They are documented in the book “Why Men Earn More” by former NOW member Warren Farrell.

    Another good resource on this issue is “Every Feminist’s Nightmare” by Thomas DiLorenzo.

  7. More ideologically biased pseudo-science from camp misandry.

    This “femresearch” is as credible as Pat Robertson conducting a study on Evolution.

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