Sunday, July 14, 2024

Reasons Why Gender Pay Gap May Exist And How To Deal With It?

Have you been a victim of the gender pay gap? Statistics show that you are not alone and there are many women suffering because of the gender pay gap.

Talking about gender is a very sensitive topic. If you talk in favor of one, the other may easily get offended. When we talk about gender it is important to understand that it is completely different from the term sex.

Understanding Gender and Society

Sex is more or less concerning our physical attributes. On the other hand, gender refers to the attitudes and behavior risen between the different sexes. This is due to the influences and expectations of society.

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The combination of both these terms influences the roles played by an individual in a society. Irrespective of whatever gender you belong to, it is important to know everyone has rights.

These rights help an individual to contribute to society as well as to develop. Over the years, many people have come talking about gender equality. However, when we look at society, we often notice that one gender is always treated superior. On the contrary, there is discrimination against the other genders.

One such place where we can see such bias in the workplace. Workplace bias is common news all around the world. At the workplace, we experience prejudice in various forms including discrimination while assigning tasks, unfair distribution of opportunities, etc.

Amongst all of these, the biggest factor where there is unequal treatment is when it comes to remuneration commonly known as the gender pay gap.


Before we go ahead with the article, here is a small disclaimer. This article is a result of thorough research. Necessary links are provided for various facts and statistics.

The author doesn’t aim at putting false accusations on any country, company or individual. The author has tried her best to put a balanced perspective on this topic.

What is Gender Pay Gap?

The gender pay gap refers to the difference between the compensation received by a man and woman for the same work done at the workplace.

As per statistics, the average female’s earnings in the United States are cited as 78% of the male earnings, thus the gender pay gap is 22%.

In most of the developed countries as well as developing countries, this pay gap may be pretty narrow or even inexistent based on the organization. However, the majority part of the population around the world still faces the gender pay gap.

In 2016, the average remuneration of women working full-time was only 90.6% of men’s pay. Robin Wright made headlines last year when she said she wasn’t being paid the same as costar Kevin Spacey for the show “House of Cards”.

Spacey was reportedly paid $500,000 an episode in 2014. It was reported in 2015 that Wright made an estimated $5.5 million from “House of Cards,” which is approximately $420,000 an episode.

Another example from Hollywood is about Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg. Jimmy Kimmel even spoke on this during the 90th Oscars monologue. For the movie “All The Money In The World,” Michelle Williams only made $80 a day in per diem for the film’s reshoots, while co-star Mark Wahlberg squeezed $1.5 million.

The attention-grabbing headline is likely the first of many that will shine a light on Hollywood’s gender and racial pay inequality. Mark donated his money to the sexual misconduct defense initiative Time’s Up.

Why Does Gender Pay Gap Exist?

In its annual report, “Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2012,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “As per gender pay gap statistics, on average in 2012, women made about 81% of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854).”

The report stated that on average men make more money than women do.

However, there were certainly other factors that were considered that most of the women included in the report worked for fewer hours in comparison to the men.

In one of the most recent reports in 2014, full-time, year-round working women’s annual median wages were $39,621 compared with $50,383 for men, which shows a vivid pay gap.

Here are some potential reasons why the gender pay gap may exist at work.

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Reasons Why The Gap Exists?

Let’s have a look at some shocking facts and statistics that tell us why the gender pay gap exists.

1. Factors Other Than Gender

In most organizations, the gender pay gap is based on various other factors and has nothing to do with the “gender” of an individual. These factors include the individual’s qualifications, experience, job position, workload, working hours, etc.

E.g. If a man working in a company is having more work experience as well as qualification as compared to a woman working in the same department as him, it is but obvious there may be some difference in their salary.

But, there may be some cases where the story is different. A woman working in a company with higher qualifications and experience compared to a man working in the same department as she may still be paid lesser in comparison.

Sometimes, the salary they receive may be the same but there may be a difference in the perks and incentives that they receive. A shocking gender pay gap fact states that people who transition from male to female gender expression experience a drop in pay.

2. Negotiating the Salary

In another report, it was stated that while being hired for the same position, men are more likely to negotiate for a higher salary as compared to a woman. According to a recent poll, men are more confident in negotiating for salaries (61 percent) compared to women (53 percent).

I would like to share a personal example at our college about a particular international school which came in for placements. They had a vacancy for the position of Mathematics teacher.

In the end, there were around 3 girls and 1 boy who was shortlisted. While negotiating the salary, the girls ended up asking for somewhere around 30k per month even though they had more qualifications as compared to the boy. The boy, on the other hand, negotiated for around 45k, which is around 50% higher than the girl’s request.

It is a very well known gender pay gap fact that women are less likely and less confident to negotiate salary as compared to men.

3. The Nature of Job

It is said that women are more likely to go for flexible jobs where they can work as well as take care of their families which may result in lower pay per hour than jobs with set hours. They are also more likely to reject riskier jobs which are usually high paying.

Similarly, there are certain jobs where women are receiving higher pay in comparison to men. Some fields like these are jobs like occupational therapists, teachers, dietitians and nutritionists, modeling, etc.

Surprising Gender Pay Gap Fact: In the wholesale or retail buying occupation, women actually make around $4,000 more than men.

4. Stereotypical Attitudes

Another factor in the gender pay gap is the attitude of the organization. Some organizations in the world follow a very stereotypical attitude and belief.

The gender wage gap most severely affects women of color, and the wage gap exists within all racial and ethnic groups.

Another typical attitude is that employers feel a woman may quit her job or take more leaves, in order to take care of her family. This may clearly affect women’s wages.

The fixed belief of employers about the job capabilities of women and the acceptance of male workers in terms of taking orders from women in the interest of the company’s productivity and profit are serious concerns which cause the pay gap.

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5. Rural vs Urban

The gender pay gap exists because most women work in unorganized sectors where the pay is less. As per the 2009-10 gender pay gap statistics, in rural areas of our country, the earnings per day for males were Rs. 249.15 whereas for females it was just Rs. 155.87.

A similar situation was found in the urban areas too, however, it is smaller.

  • Illiteracy of women,
  • lack of awareness of laws and the types of jobs available

make gender pay gap larger in rural areas as compared to urban areas.

6. Undervaluing Work

Many companies undervalue the amount of work put in, especially by women. We undervalue women’s competencies and skills. As a result, women frequently earn less than men for doing the same work.

A shocking gender pay gap fact states that Latinas have the widest pay gap.

Another way in which women’s capabilities and skills are undervalued could be reflected in the promotion rates in an organization. The gender pay gap statistics state that in 2017, women’s gross hourly earnings were on average 16.0 % below those of men in the EU.

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5 Ways to Deal With Gender Pay Gap

1. Know Your Rights

Laws exist, both at the national and international levels, to ensure that there is no discrimination between men and women in terms of remuneration received for the same kind of work.

The Indian Constitutions Article 15 guarantees that there will be no discrimination based on sex and Article 39 states that equal pay for equal work should be granted to both men and women.

There were various acts and provisions supporting equal work-equal pay initiative. These are on an international as well as national level. Knowing your rights is the first step to deal with the gender pay gap at work.

2. Raise Awareness

According to the International Labor Organization, India’s female labor participation was just 29%. Most of the labor industries don’t employ women. Additionally, certain companies don’t allow women to work for them. They discourage women from taking such jobs.

There is a need to raise awareness among women especially from the rural areas who are not aware of the laws.

Various NGOs are fighting for equal remuneration for both genders. Additionally, they are creating awareness among people exploited in the name of “work”. Unjust pay based merely on sex on an individual is a punishable offense.

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3. Be Ready to Work

It is easy for someone to complain about the gender pay gap. As I have pointed out above, there are a variety of factors determining the remuneration some of them being workload and nature of the job.

To receive equal remuneration as your colleague, be ready to put in the same amount of effort and working hours. If you take leave very often, work flexible hours and don’t prefer having much workload, you will have to accept that you will be paid accordingly.

4. Provide Help

Companies want their employees to put complete effort and dedication to the organization. What they fail to do is understand that the employees to have some personal problems or situations which may hamper their performance.

Organizations need to provide help to the employees especially working mothers who have just delivered by providing paid leave and sponsored or on-site childcare.

In the US, companies have started to take note, with “babies at work” policy becoming a growing trend. If the situation is not suitable to bring the child to work, allow the parent to work from home.

5. Follow Transparency

Formulate policies that will help to reduce the pay gap. Be transparent when it comes to remuneration. Don’t make any decisions about wages from behind the curtains. Let the employees be comfortable to discuss their salary amidst themselves and address any concerns.

This way you will be able to clear their doubts and solve the issues. Transparency will also ensure compensation is based on a job’s requirements and the candidate’s qualifications not only their sex.

Concluding thoughts,

Solving the issue about the gender pay gap is a long process that will take a good amount of time. It is not possible to achieve results overnight.

Over the years, the gap has narrowed down due to various women’s action groups and changes in government policies. Hopefully, somewhere in the future, the gender pay gap will become extinct.

Key Takeaways on Gender Pay Gap

  • What is the gender pay gap – It refers to the difference between the compensation received by a man and woman for the same work done at the workplace.
  • Why does the gender pay gap exist in the first place? One of the reasons for this gap could be the fact that men (61%) are more confident in negotiating for higher salaries compared to women (53%).
  • We must spread and raise awareness among women especially from the rural areas to understand their rights and know the worth of their work.
  • The most interesting thing about the gender gap is that women with children are more affected than single women, which hints to us the fact that women slow down their careers after having a baby.
  • Sharing the responsibilities of raising a child among both parents can be an aid in this issue.
  • To provide help to women with children, US companies have started to take note, with“babies at work” policy as a growing trend.

Which gender pay gap fact shocked you the most? Share your thoughts about the gender pay gap in the comments section. Do not forget to subscribe to us for more interesting articles. You can also follow us on our social media channels:

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Felicia Nazareth
Felicia Nazareth
Felicia Nazareth is a full-time teacher and a writer with a keen interest in lifestyle and music. Watching her favorite sitcom 'Friends', and singing are the hobbies that she enjoys the most. Not to mention, she also loves writing and expressing her thoughts to the world around her.

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