Why Do Women Earn Less?

Women in both the UK and US do earn less than men. I am frequently told, usually by men, that this is because of the occupations women choose to go into, and because they work part time.

Leaving aside how much actual genuine choice is involved, and  why occupations which are traditionally female dominated should be valued less, I went to look at the figures again. And this is what I found on the UK Government equalities site, hardly a bastion of feminsim extremism I’m sure you’ll agree! They say:

Gender Pay Gap

The Office for National Statistics collects data on earnings through the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings which it uses to calculate gender pay differences. There are a number of different ways of calculating the gender pay gap, one of which compares the pay of all men and women in work (full- and part-time) and looks at the median. By this measure, the gender pay gap is 22.0 per cent.

GEO has undertaken research into the causes . This found the key factors explaining the pay gap were as follows:

  • 10 per cent of the overall pay gap can be attributed to occupational sex segregation. Having 10 percentage point greater share of men in an occupation is associated with 2 per cent higher average hourly wages;
  • 12 per cent of the gap is due to the industries in which women work;
  • 21 per cent of the gap is due to differences in years of full-time work;
  • 16 per cent of the gap is due to the negative effect on wages of having previously worked part-time or of having taken time out of the labour market to look after family; and
  • 5 per cent of the gap is due to formal education levels

But a significant proportion (36 per cent) of the pay gap could not be explained by any of these factors, suggesting discrimination may be an important factor.

We’ve still a way to go!

Picture Credit: Valinza

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Posted on May 20th, 2011 by

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