Countries With The Best Female Pay Equality In The OECD

In eight countries in the OECD, the difference between men's and women's mean wages is less than 10%.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961 to promote the economic and social conditions of people worldwide. It has 35 members, which are mainly the developed countries, especially from Europe. The others are from North and South America, including USA and Canada, as well as Japan, Australia and New Zealand from Asia-Pacific. Some countries with still emerging economies, such as Mexico, Chile, and Turkey, are also members. All around the world, women generally are paid less than men for the same job. In the OECD countries as an aggregate group, the differences in wages has come down from an average difference of 18.2% in 2000 to 15.4% in 2014. There are, however, large differences within and between the OECD member countries in regards to this metric.

Socioeconomic Drivers of Pay Equality and Inequality

The gender wage gap is less than 10% in New Zealand (5.62%), Belgium.41%), Luxembourg (6.49% ), Greece (6.85%), Norway (7.01%), Denmark (7.80%), Spain (8.65%), and Hungary (8.72%). The reasons some countries have less inequality than others is due to a combination of factors, some of the more important of which will be discussed below.

True Equality

The social status of women has been improving in developed countries, which gets reflected in the pay they receive. By 2013, in USA and UK, the gender wage gap had decreased to half of it was in 1975. In countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and New Zealand, the gender gap is less because of the better wage structure, which decreases pay inequality.

Disparity Among Top Wage Earners and Low Wage Earners

The difference in pay between the gender increases at the top. On an average women top-earners receive 19.1% less than men, compared to the average of 15% wage difference due to gender. This happens as less women occupy top and highly paid posts, due to the existence of the 'glass ceiling' that limits their career development. This can be more of an issue in such countries as Japan, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, and Hungary. The wage difference can be less average in Chile, Spain and Portugal, while in Belgium and the Netherlands the wage is nearly the same.

In the lower wage category, countries with less gender wage differences perform well. New Zealand, Norway, and Greece, have little gender differences (being in the neighborhood of 1% to 2%), while in Luxembourg, Lithuania, and Hungary the pay is essentially equal. In Poland, meanwhile, employers are actually, on average, paying women more than men in the low wage earner category.

The 'Selection Effect'

In Greece and Spain, the pay that women receive seems to be high, as only the most qualified women manage to be employed, and their higher pay inflates figures for women.

Differential Access to Employment

The OECD has rules to address traditional gender inequality in the employment sector. However, there is a lack in proper implementation leading to men still getting selected for better jobs. Consequently women end up in lesser paying jobs.

Painting A More Compelte Picture

The factors discussed above pertain only to full time monthly employment and payment, and doesn't take into consideration the fact that women are more likely to be employed on a part time or weekly basis, where the pay is less. If these figures were to be considered, the wage gap between men and women would widen.The country with the least inequality in wages in all sectors of the economy is Belgium, where low and top earners experience the least gender inequality.

Countries With The Best Female Pay Equality In The OECD

RankCountryFemale Wage Decrement Relative To Males' Wages
1New Zealand 5.62% gender wage gap
2Belgium 6.41% gender wage gap
3Luxembourg 6.49% gender wage gap
4Greece 6.85% gender wage gap
5Norway 7.01% gender wage gap
6Denmark 7.80% gender wage gap
7Spain 8.65% gender wage gap
8Hungary 8.72% gender wage gap
9Poland 10.62% gender wage gap
10Italy 11.11% gender wage gap

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