Have you ever wondered why women typically earn less than men?
Referring to the difference in overall pay between women and men, the gender pay gap is a widely used indicator of gender inequality and is frequently used to monitor progress towards gender equality. Various studies have indicated that the gender pay gap continues to be a serious issue that is hard to eliminate. Despite some countries show improvement towards the gender pay gap, it still needs more than decades to truly eliminate gender financial inequality. Elise Gould on equal pay day study revealed that companies and governments increasingly work to close the gap but the “extremely slow progress” means it will take more than 200 years to achieve parity in economic participation and opportunity.
According to the ILO study, the main factors behind the existence of the gender pay gap are not about education or talents. In many countries, for example, women are more highly educated than men within the same occupational categories but nonetheless earn lower wages. Besides that, education and other labour market contribute relatively little to the gender pay gap at different points of the wage distribution. In high-income countries, education contributes to an average of less than 1 percent point of the gender pay gap.
The “unexplained” part contributes more to this gender pay inequality. What is the unexplained part? This part is mainly about undervaluation and motherhood pay gap. The undervaluation of women’s work in a highly feminised job shows lower wages than in enterprises that are otherwise similar in terms of a number of employees, economic sector, ownership, and type of collective pay agreement. Women are also seen to be incompetent in the workplace than a man. But it is not about discrimination. This factor is linked with the following problem, motherhood pay gap.
The motherhood pay gap contributes more to how women and men are paid differently. ILO described that pay between mothers and non-mothers are relatively different. It is estimated that the motherhood pay ranges from 1 percent or less to as much as 30 percent in different countries. Lower wages for mothers might be related to a host of factors, including a reduction in working time or employment in more family-friendly jobs. In which, these types of working are often available in lower paying workload. A stereotypical hiring and promotion decisions at companies which penalize careers of mothers can also be counted factor.
To conclude, we can say that a flexible choice in the workplace is the unexplained factor of the gender pay gap. Women and men might choose a different time to work. Factors such as who pick kids from school or who prepare breakfast comes into consideration for men and women when choosing how they spend their time. At this point, usually, men will spend more hours on a job. They will take more shifts and workload. However, it does not mean that women cannot do the same but oftentimes, women value their time and flexibility more than men. Additionally, women’s responsibility for the bulk of childcare and family labour also leads to the decision of their earnings.
“Women are paid less not because they want to, but because they hold more responsibility about unrelated job desk.”