This is a very interesting phenomenon in which there’s a lot of data but it’s still a chicken/egg problem. I out earn my PhD(STEM) girlfriend by about 50%. I’m a high school drop out, I worked incredibly hard for this, but my focus was always on salary. If a job paid too little, I’d leave and/or negotiate(I failed at this many times over a period of like 8 years before I got the hang of it), and even moved across several countries to chase higher and higher salaries(I suppose in the US these could be states). Her focus was on interests and job satisfaction. I followed market trends. She’s happier with her job than I am with mine!
She has a female friend that out-earns ME by 50% with two master’s degrees. So she’s aware that this is much more nuanced than just gender. I never had the choice of two master’s degrees, everyone has access to different options, there aren’t enough good options for everyone, so we have to work with what we have.
The best rebuttal to this theory that women get paid less for the same job would be: why aren’t all the men replaced with women? It makes business sense to save 20% on payroll. Why isn’t this happening? Why aren’t there women-only companies popping up and taking over the market?(this isn’t me trying to be difficult, it’s an actual question, why isn’t it happening?). Also, what about low-paid men? Why are they paid less?
Also, it’s natural that women have a tendency for people. Women have evolved to take care of children(small people). However, in tribalist times, raising kids was much different. There was no welfare and men were not expected to hang around very long(because they tended to die early), but moms/kids/grandmothers would spend a lot of time together, so that may explain some of women’s temperament differences.
As for kids. I think the modern world is making raising kids absolute hell. Just a generation ago grandmothers/families were a big part of raising a kid, offloading both the mom and the dad(a generation ago the mom was unlikely to work(at a job)as much as now). People weren’t all living alone, extended family was a much bigger deal, etc. People complain about all-time high loneliness and blame it on lack of friends. I blame it on lack of close contact with family.
We’re not much different than we were 50,000 years ago in our brains and what our bodies “expect” from the world.
Historically, men assured there was a dead animal at the front door, women made sure it was edible and everyone got a fair amount. <- these are both noble and necessary positions to have in the family and in society. We did this for so long that our CNS and bodies evolved for this. I don’t like the trend of trying to cut off both gender’s strong points to make them the same. This issue is a lot more complex to solve than just “pay women more”.