The Gender Pay Gap

Topics: Employment, Sexism, Gender Pages: 5 (1639 words) Published: December 6, 2012
The Gender Pay Gap

The pay gap between men and women has fallen quite dramatically over the past 30 years though a sizeable gap still remains, but this headline figure masks some less positive developments in recent years. We are used to each generation of women making progress relative to the one before, but this process has slowed slightly with the better than the previous one(Centre Piece Summer 2006).

The gender pay gap measures the earning differences between women and men in paid employment in the labor market. It is one of many indicators of gender inequality in a country, when examining labor market participation in terms of gender (EC 2007). The study “Global Employment Trends for Women” published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2009 provides current information about the global gender pay gap. Assumptions about a decline or increase in the pay gap between women and men depend on the data available and differ in the subjects of study and country-specific wage and salary administration. Therefore a closer look should be taken at regional specificities. According to the ILO, progress in reducing the gender pay gap is very slow in Europe and Central Asia. In certain countries there has even been evidence of an increase in the difference. REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Two main reasons for the pay gap can be identified (UNDP 2006): direct gender, Discrimination, in labor markets and occupational segregation. Direct discrimination occurs When people who have the same level of educational attainment and work experience are treated differently because of their gender: different pay levels for the same work or different job requirements for the same pay level. Efforts and achievements in the field of direct discrimination have been made in many countries by passing laws or establishing supportive institutions. The various forms of discrimination relating to occupational gender segregation are more subtle as well as more delicate to address with specific actions(Center Piece 2008). According to the ILO, women represent 40.4 percent of the worldwide workforce. However, that proportion is not reflected when investigating occupational groups within the various sectors: 46.3 percent of employed women work in the services sector, 35.4 percent in the agricultural sector and only 18.3 percent in the industrial sector (compared to 26.6 percent of employed men) (ILO 2009). The specific sectors in which women employees are the vast majority – secretaries, teachers and nurses – also are poorly paid work areas. And even within these jobs they are paid less than their male colleagues (IWPR 2009). This fundamental under-evaluation of women's work results basically from two facts. Firstly, women's primary responsibility for unpaid care work such as children, education and basic family services seems to channel them into similar working areas in the labor market (UNIFEM 2005). Some researchers refer to differences in occupations between women and men as the selection effect (e.g. Petersen and Snartland, 2004). The selection effect implies not only that women choose certain kinds of occupations, but that employers are favoring men over women by not adapting the work environment to suit both genders. Secondly, the specific way in which work skills are attained plays an important role in to their financial evaluation:

The gender pay gap exists is evident from a brief review of labor force statistics. The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) declared that in the USA at the present rate of the gender pay gap the average woman had to work until April 2008 to make what the average man made by the end of 2007 ( NWLC, 2008). Evidence suggests a similar tendency in the European Union. For example, in the UK at the present rate of the gender pay gap the average woman who works full time would miss around $369,000 over her working life (BBC News, 2008). The existence of the gender pay gap almost all over the...
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