The Gender Pay Gap – getting to the real problem, not the bumper sticker

The Economist 23 August 2017

Are women really paid much less than men for the same work, as is often claimed? Figures from 25 rich and middle-income countries gathered by Korn Ferry, a consultancy, show that women make 98 cents for each dollar earned by men employed at the same organisation, level and job function. Overall, women earn on average 79% of what men do, but this gap can be almost entirely explained by the fact that men are more likely to do highly paid jobs—not because they are paid more than women doing the same work. In Britain, France and Germany, for example, around 80-90% of executive jobs, and less than two-thirds of clerical jobs, are held by men. Closing the gender pay gap will therefore depend on eliminating the barriers that prevent women reaching senior positions. Slogans demanding equal pay for equal work, however, can be safely packed away.


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