Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Double standards: women paid little and always less than men

Entering employment does not automatically lead to empowerment and equality for women. Many women and men, especially in developing countries simply do not earn a living wage – in other words, enough to have a decent standard of living and meet their own and their families’ basic needs.20 What’s more, when women are paid for a job, they earn on average between 10% to 30% less than men for work of equal value.

 The ILO estimates that at the current rate of progress it will take 75 years to make the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ a reality for women and men. Women’s exploitation in the labour market is further compounded by their disproportionate share of unpaid care responsibilities (such as child rearing, domestic chores, and caring for the sick and elderly), which effectively means that women are subsidising the economy with free and often invisible work. Unpaid care responsibilities narrow women’s choices in the type of job they get, often condemning them to informal or low-paid employment and dramatically swelling their hours of work overall. So it is unsurprising that women’s wages everywhere lag far behind those of men. In developing countries, according to ActionAid’s calculations, this has created a gender wage gap equivalent to some US$2 trillion in women’s earnings,


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