Ms. Lucas put together an interesting OpEd for the Wall Street Journal for Equal Pay Day 2011.  Too bad she misses a massive data point in her analysis.

From her article:

Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.

What she missed:

Similar circumstances needs to include educational attainment and the job duties in question.

If you consider that women are more than half of college students and grads these days, of course we would expect that, for this age cohort, women would make more than men if a college degree has actual value in our economy.  If you look at men and women in the same age, same education, same job duties, the wage gap not-so-magically appears.

Basically, if you compare apples to apples (same job with same duties and education to same job with same duties and education) you will see the data that has so many of us intent on observing Equal Pay Day and annoyed that, on average, women come up with 77% of the pay that men do.

In an age where women are going to college and graduating from college at higher rates than men, you’ll need to dig deeper into the data to get the real story and see the actual problem.