On the February 27 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly criticized President Obama's 2014 State of the Union statements on the importance of closing the gender wage gap. During a conversation with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, O'Reilly initially acknowledged that the wage gap exists even after accounting for career and life choices. However, soon after he resorted to mocking the gap, saying, "I'm not buying this inequality business," and dismissing pay inequality as a mere political maneuver, "not a reality." O'Reilly concluded that Bartiromo's successful experience in the stock exchange was sufficient evidence that motivation and hard work can eliminate the gender wage gap, a message O'Reilly says he hopes "gets out to other women that, look, [the gender pay gap is] not perfect but it's good."
In its 2013 Gender Pay Gap Report, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that women were paid 82 percent of what men were paid just one year out of college, and that lifetime gender wage disparities cannot be explained by personal choice. Furthermore, the Institute for Women's Policy Research explained in a 2012 report that "Women's median earnings are lower than men's in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women." Think Progress also reported that women earn less than men regardless of their education, industry, job, or location.
The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) reports that not only are education and work experience insufficient in explaining away the existence of the pay gap, but studies that control for these factors don't account for that fact that:
[W]omen are often excluded from higher-paying jobs; women are subtly and not-so-subtly pushed into lower-paying jobs that are often devalued precisely because they are done by women; and social expectations of women to do most of the unpaid caregiving work put together with the lack of paid family leave and other forms of workplace flexibility mean that women still face a wage penalty for not being the ideal, unencumbered worker.
Excerpts from "Bill O'Reilly Isn't 'Buying This Inequality Business' On The Gender Wage Gap" by OLIVIA KITTEL