Best Gender Wage Equality, OECD Countries

The gender gap can be felt throughout multiple industries.
The gender gap can be felt throughout multiple industries.

On average, women in OECD countries still earn less than their male counterparts. Statistics from the Recent Employment Outlook on OECD countries revealed that South Korea had the largest gender wage gap at 36.7% while New Zealand had the smallest at 5.62% The gender pay gap is measured by determining the difference in the median earning of women in relation to the median earning of men. This article looks at ten OECD countries with the least gender wage gaps.

10. Italy (11.11% gender wage gap)

Italy has a gender pay gap of 11.11%, the tenth best among OECD Countries. The service and financial sectors experience the largest disparity in terms of pay while the men dominated the construction and utility sector in terms of numbers. Women are underrepresented in executive positions and they generally choose careers that are not high paying.

9. Poland (10.62% gender wage gap)

Poland's gender pay discrepancy stands at 10.62%. Poland experiences the same conditions as Denmark regarding gender disparity. A large number of women spend a lot of their time doing unpaid tasks such as household chores. They are underrepresented in executive positions and most of them choose different career paths from their male counterparts.

8. Hungary (8.72% gender wage gap)

The gender pay inequality in Hungary stands at 8.72%. Just like in many other countries, women in Poland are underrepresented in executive posts, earn less than men in equal positions, and have to work fewer hours to cater to household chores.

7. Spain (8.65% gender wage gap)

The gender pay gap in Spain stands at 8.65%. On average, women in Spain must work 79 more days to match the income earned by men. To have the same pension to men, women must pay towards the pension for 11 more years. Spain's legal system has been blamed for not fully addressing the gender pay disparity. Women also work fewer hours so they can perform household chores.

6. Denmark (7.80% gender wage gap)

The gender wage gap in Denmark stands at 7.80%, slightly higher than Norway. According to a report by the EU, the majority of supervisory and management jobs are held by men who work for longer hours. According to the report, only 4% of executive positions are held by women. Women tend to work shorter hours and a large number of women work doing unpaid jobs such as household chores.

5. Norway (7.01% gender wage gap)

Norway has a 7.01% gender wage gap which is nearly half that of the average OECD gender wage gap of 15.4%. According to a survey by the EU, the representation of women in the labor market is 73.8% which is much higher than the 58.6% EU average. In 2003, Norway passed a law requiring no less than 40% of board members of a public limited company to be women.

4. Greece (6.85% gender wage gap)

Despite the economic problems faced by Greece, its wage gap is 6.85%. Just like other EU countries, the gap was attributed to higher levels of unemployment among women and job discrimination. A report by the EU suggests that the employment rate of women in Greece is 45.1%. This is lower than the average employment rate of 58.5% in the EU, and 11.6% lower than men's employment rate. Despite this, the government has introduced measures to curb gender segregation such as passing Law 1414/84 that abolishes gender-based discrimination in the labor market.

3. Luxembourg (6.49% gender wage gap)

According to OECD, Luxembourg has a wage gap of 6.49%, slightly higher than Belgium's. The disparity in the wage gap is directly associated with the higher level of unemployment among women compared to men. The employment rate of women stands at 59.0%. Currently, women are seeking more education and better jobs. Compared to 2002, there is a 17.6% increase in the number of women seeking tertiary education which is 4.1% lower than men. According to the PwC Women in Work Index, it is possible for Luxembourg to close the gender wage gap by 2022.

2. Belgium (6.41% gender wage gap)

According to OECD, Belgium has the lowest wage gap among OECD members in the UE. The 6.41% gender wage gap is primarily caused by the difference in career choices between men and women and the fact that women have to perform household chores that result in fewer hours in the workplace. Women also dominate some key sectors of the economy; 80% of the workforce in the heath sector are women. In the financial sector, the jobs are spread equally, however, men earn more than women. In 2012, Belgium passed a law which states that "the gender pay gap should be discussed on all levels of collective labor negotiation" and "a mediator for claims of unequal pay can be appointed in companies" with the intention of bridging the gap.

1. New Zealand (5.62% gender wage gap)

New Zealand has the lowest gender-based wage gap in the OECD. Although the 5.62% wage gap seems smaller than those in other countries, there is still a certain degree of proportionality in earnings. One of the factors attributed to the lower wage gap is the fact that more women in New Zealand are seeking higher education thus landing in higher paying jobs. Employers have also shown good faith in employing more women and paying them deservedly. The Equal Pay Act of 1972 brings in the legal aspect of maintaining equal pay among women and men in the country.


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