Working women face longer days for lower pay - March 2011

When compared to men, working women on average face longer working days than men, for less pay. This is the main outcome of an international gender pay gap comparison, based on half a million surveys conducted by the Wage Indicator Foundation between 2006 and 2010. This picture is found, regardless of level of development of the economy or region of the world. Yet, the more developed the economy and the less traditional the society, the smaller the gender pay gap appears to be. For example, a Danish woman earns 91 percent of the pay her male professional peers get. In Denmark the gender pay gap is the smallest. At the other extreme Indian women on average get 64 per cent of what male workers earn in the same occupation and at the same level of qualifications. In the middle range are mostly other Western European countries with gender pay gaps between 22 and 15 percent.

Though a stable pattern can be seen, it also appears from this large scale Wage Indicator comparison that overall working women increasingly are aware of and dissatisfied with their situations as compared to their male peers. After a working day, as a rule women take the lion’s share of household tasks upon themselves. This means that after the working day is finished, they still have to put in a couple of hours at home. This traditional division of household roles however is no longer taken for granted. Almost half of the working women are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, whereas the great majority of working men are satisfied to enjoy their leisure time after work.

The quarterly Wage Indicator report that leads to this outcome is published on the occasion of Women’s Day, March 8th. It shows that the gender pay gap is the rule across borders, throughout branches of industry and –almost- regardless of occupation. The gender based difference in pay ranges from 7 per cent, as in the case of nurses, to over 30 per cent as in some academic professions. The report also makes clear that this pay gap is to a large extent irrational, not accounted for by relative lack of skills or education on the part of women.

The in-depth analysis is based on a comparison between 11 countries, found in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Read the full report The Gender Gap - A comparative analysis of wages in times of recession.

Wage Indicator has been collecting wage data online since 2001 in a growing number of countries worldwide, numbering 55 in 2011. The dataset is regularly updated to make comparison over time possible.

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