Fox Host Credits Gender Wage Gap With Helping Women Keep Their Jobs

Fox Business host Melissa Francis attempted to justify the gender wage gap by claiming that women fared better than men during the recession because they make less money, allowing them to hold onto their jobs.

President Obama marked Equal Pay Day on April 8 by signing two executive orders to help narrow the gender pay gap. Obama also urged the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was eventually blocked by Senate Republicans on April 9. Currently, women make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men working full-time. 

Francis appeared on the April 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom to debate the President's push on the gender wage gap with Alan Colmes. During the discussion, Francis claimed that the reason more women than men were able to keep their jobs during and after the recession is because women make less money:

FRANCIS: I would also point out that men lost jobs at two and a half times the rate as women in this last recession. I know plenty of families where the man is now out of work and the woman is the one who's working full time. Probably because she makes a little less, so she was able to keep her job.

Contrary to Francis' claim, the gender wage gap has nothing to do with the fact that women fared better than men during and after the recession. Experts noted that men tended to suffer more unemployment because the recession disproportionately affected professions with large numbers of male workers (e.g., construction, goods-producing industries). As the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted:

Men hold the overwhelming share of jobs in a group of goods-producing industries that are considerably more sensitive to changes in the business cycle, while women hold the majority of positions in the less cyclical service-proving industries. 

And industries employing mostly women grew more than those employing mostly men, according to the AP:

Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, education and health services have helped drive job growth: That sector added nearly 1.6 million jobs, the second-most of any category. And women gained nearly 1.1 million of them.

While that category includes some good-paying jobs such as nurses and physical therapists, many are lower-paying positions such as home health care aides.

Women also make up more than half of the workforce in hotels and restaurants, which has produced the third-largest job gain of any industry.

Francis' strange defense of the gender wage gap falls in line with Fox's minimizing and even outright denial of the pay gap.