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Jordan Peterson’S Perspective On The Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap – the average difference between what men and women are paid – has been a hot topic in recent years.

Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist and professor, has shared controversial opinions on this complex issue.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: According to Jordan Peterson, the gender pay gap exists not primarily due to sexism, but rather differences in personality traits between men and women that lead them to make different career choices.

What Jordan Peterson Says About the Gender Pay Gap

It’s Not Due to Discrimination

Jordan Peterson, a renowned Canadian psychologist and professor, has been vocal about his perspective on the gender pay gap.

Contrary to popular belief, Peterson argues that the pay gap is not primarily due to discrimination against women in the workplace.

He believes that the differences in earnings between men and women can be attributed to a variety of factors, including personal choices and individual differences in career aspirations.

Peterson points out that the gender pay gap is significantly smaller when factors such as occupation, experience, and education are taken into account.

He argues that women and men tend to make different career choices, with women often prioritizing work-life balance and job security over higher-paying but more demanding roles.

Peterson suggests that these preferences contribute to the pay gap, as certain industries and positions may offer higher salaries but require more time and effort.

It is important to note that Peterson’s perspective is not without controversy, and there are differing opinions on the causes of the gender pay gap.

However, his stance emphasizes the importance of considering various factors beyond discrimination when discussing this complex issue.

It’s Partly About Different Career Choices

One of the key points made by Jordan Peterson regarding the gender pay gap is the role of different career choices made by men and women.

According to Peterson, men and women tend to gravitate towards different fields of work, which can influence their earning potential.

Statistical data supports Peterson’s argument.

For example, a study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that women are more likely to work in fields such as education, healthcare, and social assistance, which generally have lower average salaries compared to fields such as engineering, technology, and finance, where men are more prevalent.

Peterson suggests that these career choices are influenced by a combination of social factors, personal preferences, and innate differences between men and women.

He argues that men and women have different interests and motivations, which can lead them to pursue different career paths.

While this does not discount the influence of societal norms and expectations, Peterson believes that individual choices play a significant role in the gender pay gap.

It is worth noting that Peterson’s views on this matter have been met with criticism from some who argue that societal biases and discrimination still contribute to the gender pay gap.

This ongoing debate highlights the complexity of the issue and the importance of considering multiple perspectives when seeking to understand and address the gender pay gap.

It's Partly About Different Career Choices

Criticisms of Jordan Peterson’s Views

Structural Barriers and Unconscious Bias Exist

One of the main criticisms of Jordan Peterson’s views on the gender pay gap is that he downplays the significance of structural barriers and unconscious bias that can contribute to the disparity in earnings between men and women.

Many argue that there are systemic factors at play, such as discrimination in hiring practices, limited access to education and career advancement opportunities, and societal expectations that can impact women’s earning potential.

According to a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, even after controlling for factors such as education, occupation, and experience, a significant pay gap between men and women still exists.

This suggests that there are underlying factors beyond individual choices that contribute to the disparity.

Furthermore, research has shown that unconscious bias can influence hiring and promotion decisions, with studies revealing that identical resumes with male or female names can lead to different outcomes.

This suggests that gender bias may exist within organizations, which can contribute to the gender pay gap.

It is important to acknowledge and address these structural barriers and unconscious biases in order to work towards achieving gender equality in the workplace.

Gender Differences in Personality are Small

Another criticism of Jordan Peterson’s perspective on the gender pay gap is his emphasis on gender differences in personality traits as a contributing factor.

Peterson argues that men and women have inherent differences in traits such as agreeableness and assertiveness, which can influence career choices and ultimately contribute to the pay gap.

However, research suggests that the differences in personality traits between men and women are relatively small and cannot fully explain the gender pay gap.

A meta-analysis conducted by psychologist Janet Shibley Hyde found that gender differences in personality are generally small, with overlap between men’s and women’s traits being much greater than the differences.

Furthermore, it is important to consider that societal expectations and stereotypes can shape the development of personality traits. For example, women may be socialized to be more nurturing and empathetic, which could influence their career choices.

However, it is crucial to recognize that these societal expectations are not inherent and can be challenged and changed.

By focusing solely on gender differences in personality, Peterson’s perspective overlooks the impact of societal norms and expectations, as well as the potential for individuals to challenge and transcend these limitations.

Evidence Around the Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is a topic that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, and it is an area of interest for many researchers and scholars.

One prominent figure who has shared his perspective on the gender pay gap is Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist and professor.

Peterson believes that it is important to examine the evidence surrounding the gender pay gap in order to gain a better understanding of the issue.

The Raw Gender Pay Gap

When discussing the gender pay gap, it is important to distinguish between the raw gender pay gap and the adjusted gender pay gap.

The raw gender pay gap refers to the difference in average earnings between men and women without taking into account any other factors such as occupation or education.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn about 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. This statistic is often cited as evidence of the gender pay gap.

However, it is crucial to consider other factors that may contribute to this gap.

For example, men and women often choose different career paths, with men more likely to pursue higher-paying fields such as engineering or finance, while women tend to gravitate towards fields like education or social work.

These career choices can have a significant impact on earnings and contribute to the raw gender pay gap.

Factors Impacting the Gap

There are various factors that can impact the gender pay gap, and it is important to take these into account when analyzing the issue.

One factor is occupational segregation, which refers to the concentration of men and women in different occupations.

Certain industries and professions may have a higher proportion of men or women, leading to differences in earnings. For example, the tech industry is known for its gender imbalance, with men dominating the field and often earning higher salaries.

Another factor is the issue of work-life balance.

Women are still more likely to take on caregiving responsibilities and may face challenges in balancing work and family life. This can result in career interruptions or reduced work hours, which can impact earnings.

Additionally, studies have shown that women tend to negotiate for lower salaries compared to men, which can also contribute to the gender pay gap.

It is worth noting that while the gender pay gap exists, it does not necessarily imply direct discrimination against women. Rather, it reflects complex societal factors and individual choices that influence earnings.

By understanding the evidence and factors surrounding the gender pay gap, we can work towards creating a more equitable society where everyone has equal opportunities and access to fair wages.

For more information on the gender pay gap, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Factors Impacting the Gap

Solutions and Paths Forward

Blind Hiring Practices

One potential solution to address the gender pay gap is the implementation of blind hiring practices. This involves removing any identifying information, such as names or gender, from job applications and resumes.

Instead, hiring decisions are based solely on the qualifications and merit of the candidates. By eliminating bias and discrimination during the hiring process, blind hiring practices aim to create a fair and level playing field for all applicants.

Studies have shown that blind hiring can help reduce gender disparities and increase diversity in the workplace. Companies like Deloitte and Gap have already adopted blind hiring practices with positive results.

Encouraging Girls in STEM

An important step towards closing the gender pay gap is to encourage more girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Currently, women are underrepresented in these fields, which often offer higher-paying job opportunities.

To address this issue, initiatives such as Girls Who Code and Tech Girls Movement are working to inspire and empower young girls to pursue STEM education and careers.

By providing mentorship, scholarships, and resources, these programs aim to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields and pave the way for more women to enter higher-paying professions.

Encouraging Girls in STEM

Paid Family Leave Policies

Another potential solution to addressing the gender pay gap is the implementation of paid family leave policies.

Many countries around the world, such as Sweden and Canada, have already implemented generous parental leave policies that benefit both mothers and fathers.

These policies not only allow parents to take time off to care for their newborns but also ensure that they can return to work without facing financial hardship.

By providing paid family leave, companies can support working parents and promote gender equality in the workplace.

Studies have shown that paid family leave policies can contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap by reducing the career interruptions and financial setbacks experienced by women after childbirth.


The gender pay gap is a complex issue with no simple explanations or solutions.

While Jordan Peterson attributes it to personality differences, many argue structural barriers and bias play a key role.

The path forward will likely require nuanced approaches that empower women’s choices while also addressing systemic issues.

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