The "wage gap" myth is getting more and more widespread year after year, thanks to the heavy promotion by big-name feminists and the sensationalistic media. Government official (including up to heads of state), big corporations, small corporations, banks, the media at large, and millions and millions of people are in increasing numbers swallowing this myth. Some of them go so far as to actually "do something about it", which ironically usually means breaking the law of the country by gender-based favoritism and discrimination (such as giving extra money to female employees for the sole reason that they are women and nothing else, even if that's outright illegal in the country.)
Yet, even though the myth is getting more and more widespread, I have yet to see a single piece of actual, concrete evidence of this. I don't mean general statistics. I mean actual concrete examples: Pointing out an actual company that actually pays female employees less than men per work hour, for the exact same job. With actual evidence, such as job contracts and salary receipts.
If the mythical "77 cents per men's dollar" figure is true, then this shouldn't be hard. We know for a fact that there are plenty of companies that do pay the same hourly salary to all employees doing the same job. That means that, if the claim is true, there have to be companies out there that pay even less than 77 cents per dollar to female employees (so that the total average will be that 77 cents). Thus it shouldn't be hard to point out concrete examples of this. Name actual companies. Show the salary receipts. It shouldn't be hard to do this for hundreds and even thousands of companies (because they must exist if that figure is true).
I have yet to see this being done even for one single company, much less the thousands and thousands of them that must be part of this.
My guess is that they aren't showing actual evidence of individual companies because there isn't any. If they tried, they would find out that either the company is not actually paying less, that the jobs or working hours are not actually the same, or that the difference, if there is any, is not even nearly that drastic (and may be caused by things like seniority or salary negotiations).
The reality of the thing is that, even though it may be so that the totality of the female labor force may be earning less per year than the totality of the male labor force, this is because they are not on average doing the same jobs for the same amount of time. What feminists are doing is taking total earnings, dividing them among the number of workers, and then coming up with a lower number for women than men, and then sensationalistically concluding that women are being paid less, when the reality is that women are earning less, which is a completely different thing. (In fact, I have actually seen the claim being made by using the word "earn" rather than the word "paid". It always gets me suspicious that the person making the claim is trying for some plausible deniability if they are ever called out. "I didn't say they were paid less; I just said the earn less." Of course they will never make the distinction clear, and will deliberately abuse the confusion between the two terms, falsely giving the impression that women are paid less, when in reality they are just earning less, which is not the same thing.)
The "wage gap" myth is probably never going to go away. The totality of working women earn less than the totality of working men because of personal life choices. On average women choose to get less-paying careers than men, or do less hours than men. And this will probably always be so. But since this will cause the total earnings for women to be less, the myth will always persist.
But I'm wondering that given that the myth is being more and more widespread, where it will end. What will be the extreme that it will cause.
One thing that I find very likely is that some companies will, either voluntarily or even by force, start to pay their female employees more than their male ones, for the simple reason that they are women. And even though this is actually illegal in most countries. We will see whether the law will be enforced on this or not. In some cases the law might actually be ignored. Because, you know, it's the current year and all that. And all protests that this is illegal will be shouted down by accusations of sexism and misogyny.
If that happens, the next question in my mind is what will happen if those women then start working less, because they have bigger salaries. I mean on average. If they start working less, their total earnings will again start plummeting. What then? Will companies be forced to raise women's salaries once again to compensate? How far can this go? Can this possibly go so far that companies will be forced to pay women salary even if those women do not work at all?
I know that sounds really far-fetched, but the way things are going, and seeing examples of even crazier things all over the world, I don't actually consider that out of the realm of possibility.
The only thing that can stop that madness is how willing the government of each country will be ready to enforce their own equality laws. (But, of course, if they do that, the "wage gap" myth will once again persist, so it will be an endless vicious circle.)