Gender pay gap: everything you need to know.
Can you imagine having to work for free for 51 of the 365 days of the year? I’m sure you would find it incredibly unfair, wouldn’t you? Well, this is what happens to many women around the world. Pay inequality is a reality we face, and it’s time we take action to change this situation.
If you don’t know how the gender pay gap is calculated, how far this inequality goes depending on which territories or why women are paid less than men, here you will find everything you need to know about the gender pay gap.
What is the gender pay gap?
The wage gap is defined as the difference between the average wages of men and women. To calculate it, agencies subtract the average gross wage of women from the average gross wage of men and divide the result by the average wage of men. They then multiply that number by 100 to express it as a percentage. And thus, they obtain what is called the “gender pay gap”.
It seems a rather cold and technical definition for a problem that has deep roots in gender discrimination and inequality. It is not just about numbers and percentages, but a reflection of how women continue to be undervalued in the labor market.
Gender pay inequality, more than any other form of discrimination, reflects the accumulation of historical inequalities that women have faced simply because they are women.
Even job offers may be conditioned by some companies’ “aversion” to maternity and work-life balance. This invisible but deep-seated discrimination perpetuates an unfair wage gap, denying women the equal opportunities and economic recognition they deserve.
What is the gender pay gap between men and women today?
What do the real figures reveal about the gender pay gap? Here are the statistics provided by official bodies at international, European and national level. However, it is important to note that these data are not adjusted. Why? Because the labor market is complex and diverse, and labor regulations vary widely between different regions and countries. This makes calculating an accurate gender pay gap a challenge, but we cannot let this difficulty prevent us from addressing the issue effectively and fairly.
It is absolutely outrageous to see that women workers around the world continue to earn a paltry 77 cents for every dollar men receive. In Europe, although the gap is narrowing, it remains significant at 84.3 cents for every euro. Alarmingly, despite progress, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 202 years to achieve wage equality between men and women. This is not only unacceptable, but also highlights the persistent gender inequality in the workplace. Concrete and effective action is urgently needed to address this disparity and ensure that all people, regardless of gender, are fairly compensated for their work.
What is the reason for this gender gap in salary?
It is also important to delve deeper into the causes that give rise to this pay gap between men and women. Here are some of the factors that cause this inequality:
1. Lower-paying jobs:
Traditionally, women tend to be employed in sectors and occupations that tend to be lower-paying or more integrated into the informal economy. For example, in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector, women hold only one in four jobs, despite representing the majority of the workforce in the service sector, as noted by UN Women. This occupational segregation perpetuates the wage gap, as jobs in the STEM sector tend to pay higher wages compared to jobs in the service sector.
2. Part-time work:
Despite the increase in women’s labor participation, the equal sharing of family responsibilities is still far from being a reality. In most cases, despite being employed, women continue to assume the overwhelming burden of caring for children or dependent family members, as well as household chores.
This imbalance means that many female workers are forced to resort to reduced working hours to try to reconcile both spheres, or even to interrupt or abandon their careers permanently, which, in turn, translates into lower pay. It is essential to emphasize that this is not a voluntary choice, but an imposition of circumstances.
3. Glass ceiling:
Only 31% of executive positions globally are held by women. This statistic reveals a clear gap in gender representation at the highest levels of companies, which in turn perpetuates pay inequality.
It is imperative to recognize that this problem is not due to women’s lack of skills or talent, but to structural and cultural barriers that hinder their career progression.
Getting started in the fight against the gender wage gap
We should not settle for a world where women are limited in their employment opportunities due to gender stereotypes and systemic inequalities. In a world where gender equality and pay equity are goals we should all tirelessly pursue, it is essential to support initiatives and tools that promote transparency and value each professional on their merits, regardless of gender, race or any other factor.
Platforms like PROSFY are making a difference in driving equality in the workplace. These platforms not only offer pay transparency, but also recognize the intrinsic value of each individual. They allow professionals to be rewarded based on their experience, skills and performance, rather than being limited by stereotypes or biases. Join us and promote equal opportunities for every professional on our way to a more inclusive and just future!