Is that a fair situation where John and Joan are doing equal work, but Joan is getting paid a lot more than John, when the pay differential is the result of market demand for Joan’s gender?

Libertarianism and Gender Inequality

Joan and John work at the same job at the same company with pretty much equal qualifications, equal productivity, and equal pay. As it turns out, in the city where Joan and John work, many companies are trying to diversify their workforce by increasing the number of women employed by their company. Joan is approached by a headhunter who offers Joan a job with another company doing much the same kind of work she is doing now but at 1 1/2 times the salary. That is, she would get a really good pay raise. As she thinks about the job offer, she realizes that she has a lot of friends at the current company and would want to stay if the company offered her a pay raise. So she approaches her current manager to tell him of the offer from the headhunter, and she tells her manager she will stay if the company meets the salary offer of the competitor, or something in the same ball park. As it turns out, the company Joan works for wants to keep its diversity and does not want to lose Joan to a competing company.

So her company agrees. The result is that she is working beside John doing the same job as before with equal qualifications and equal productivity, but with a salary much higher than John’s.

Is that a fair situation where John and Joan are doing equal work, but Joan is getting paid a lot more than John, when the pay differential is the result of market demand for Joan’s gender?

How should Joan’s and John’s agency bear on your judgment about fairness? Both are getting paid what they thought made it worthwhile to work at the particular company.

Both agreed to their respective pay.