Gender inequality: huge real and awareness gaps remain - January 2011

The gender gap prevails in all fields – as does the lack of awareness surrounding this stubborn fact of economic life. These are striking results – in the Quarterly Wage indicator report - from a cross-occupation comparison between 23 countries with Wage Indicator data collected during 2009 and 2010.

Job qualifications and pay gap

Overall women earn between 54 and 86 per cent of men’s wages, for the same tasks. The gender pay gap reaches its highest level in the armed forces, notably amongst commissioned officers, where men earn more than twice women’s salaries. By contrast, pay inequality is only small in the clerical occupations. In fact, some female clerical workers even earn more than men. In the highly qualified occupations, the gender pay gap hovers at middle levels. Female managers, professionals and technicians get 75-78 per cent of their male peers’ earnings. Lower qualified occupations do not lead to a wider gender pay gap. On the contrary: the gap is ‘only’ 17 percentage points in the elementary occupations. In the middle and higher qualified occupations by contrast, the gender pay gap widens to 35 percentage points, i.e. in the craft and related trade activities.

Labour opportunities by gender

The Wage Indicator survey registered a 4.5 percentage point increase in workers’ perception of equality in 2010 as compared to 2009. Only in the Ukraine and the Russian Federation dramatic declines in people’s feeling about female labour equality were found. Three out of four respondents consider that women and men have the same labour opportunities.

When the response is split by gender, in (almost) all 23 countries more men than women appear to have a positive view as regards equal labour opportunities. In the Russian Federation scores are exceptional: only one in two women workers says that women have the same labour opportunities as men, the lowest score overall. Russian men by and large share this view, four out of ten believing women don’t have the same opportunities as men.

In conclusion, considerable gender pay and opportunities gaps persist. But the majority of respondents, men and women, still believe that no such gaps exist. Nearly 190,000 questionnaires completed through the world wide Wage Indicator network in 2009 and 2010 were incorporated in this study.

Overtime does not Pay – Quarterly report Wage Indicator Download (pdf, 1.7 MB)


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