Home / Gender Issues / Women paid 18pc less than men globally: report

Women paid 18pc less than men globally: report

Jawwad Rizvi

LAHORE: Women worldwide, on an average, are paid 18 percent less than their male counterparts at work, according to a new report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The fourth Gender Pay Gap (GPG) report also reveals that women workers in manufacturing have a rather low relative wage level.

The report, “Frozen in time: Gender pay gap unchanged for 10 years” released on the eve of International Women’s Day, looks at women’s wages in 43 countries, twice the number of previous studies.

“For the last decade women’s wages have hit a roadblock. The pay gap remains frozen in time almost everywhere. Asia is the continent with the greatest wage differential between men and women with no progress made to close the gap for over a decade,” it said.

However, Pakistani women were getting slightly higher wages in the age group of 30 and above as compared with their male counterparts, which is far better than India and other countries.

The report indicated that when comparison was made in the middle educated male and female workers under 30 years of age, GPGs range from -35 percent in India to 48 percent in the United States. Next to India, the women younger than 30 in Azerbaijan and Zambia have slightly higher earnings than their male counterparts, but in all other countries their male counterparts have higher earnings. When comparing the middle educated male and female workers in the age group of 30 years and over, the GPGs range from -55 percent in Mozambique to 49 percent in the Russian Federation. Next to Mozambique, the women above 30 in Pakistan and Zambia have slightly higher earnings than their male counterparts, but in all other countries men have higher earnings than women.

For the first time, researchers have ranked industries internationally by analysing the differences in wages in 15 sectors in 15 countries across four continents from construction to domestic workers.

The research indicates significant variation in the gender pay gap in the 15 sectors studied. Sectors that are traditionally unionised tend to have lower pay gaps, such as the public sector. Those with low unionisation rates and low wage levels, such as retail, hotels and restaurants, and agriculture, tend to have relatively higher gender pay gaps. This suggests that these sectors suffer from low levels of compliance with minimum wage regulation.

Male-dominated sectors such as construction have the smallest gender pay gaps. This is mainly attributed to the low numbers of women working in this sector combined with a relative higher level of education. Across all the countries under study, domestic workers show the lowest level of earning and the largest average gender pay gaps. This is mainly due to their low level of unionisation and the fact that many female workers live in the house of their employers, with an average wage in cash much lower than the one of their male colleagues.

Part of the problem is that many workers are not paid a decent minimum wage. The results of this study show that trade unions in the manufacturing sectors must look more closely at this issue and address this differential through collective bargaining strategies.

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