Equal pay for equal work is not the way to close the gender pay gap


woman working

While some countries are making progress towards equal pay, the rest of the world is seeing a bigger gender pay gap than ever.
In just about every occupation in the US, women earn less than men.
Globally, women earn on average 57% of what men earn.
So how do we close the gender pay gap?
Ultimately, it’s not about equal pay for equal work. The solution boils down to how flexible work is approached.

Closing the gender pay gap isn’t as simple as championing equal pay for equal work.

The US Census Bureau’s latest data indicates women earned 82% of what men earned in 2016. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), women earn about 57% of what men earn globally. The global gender pay gap is widening, and at the rate things are going, WEF predicts the economic gap between men and women won’t be closed for another 217 years.

But Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University who has spent years researching gender economics, said statistics citing annual earnings between male and female full-time, full-year workers don’t tell the full story of what’s causing the gender pay gap.

“What economists do is they use data to figure out whether the individuals are the same; they try to make them comparable as possible; they squeeze out these differences and productive attributes; they look for individuals who have the same education, the same labor-force participation rates over their life cycle, etc.,” Goldin explains to Freakonomics Radio host Stephen J. Dubner.

When doing this, we still see a gender wage gap. But as Goldin ponders, “does that mean that women are receiving lower pay for equal work? That is possibly the case in certain places, but, by and large, it’s not that. It’s something else.”

When looking at gender earnings gaps by occupation, Goldin found something that might surprise people.

By comparing the 469 occupations in the US Census, she found that women disproportionately holding certain jobs only accounted for about 25% of the difference in earnings between men and women. Factors within each occupation overwhelmingly accounted for differences in pay.

Goldin tells Dubner, “the lion’s share of the difference is due to the fact that in every occupation, just about, women receive less than men.”

And they’re receiving less than men for a host of reasons, she explains, one of which is that they’re not working the same amount of time. “And in many occupations, working more hours or being there when the firm wants you to be there earns you a lot more.”

Focusing on individuals in the top 105 occupations with an average annual compensation of more than $60,000, Goldin found that men almost always out-earned women. When classifying these jobs in categories like Business and Finance, Health, Science, and Technology, Goldin saw a larger gender earnings gap in Business and Finance occupations, where full-time, full-year working women earned about 78 cents on their male counterpart’s dollar, than in Technology and Science, where, when combined, women earned closer …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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