Worst Gender Wage Gaps of OECD Countries

The gender wage gap is prevalent in many OECD countries.
The gender wage gap is prevalent in many OECD countries.

The controversy concerning the gender wage gap is still an ongoing discussion in most of the world. Many of the world's most developed nations have a higher gender wage gap than expected. It should be noted that the gender wage gap is not only accounted for by finding the difference in wages of men and women performing the same job or at the same level, other factors such as men and women performing different jobs and the gender difference in executive positions of organizations are also taken into account. A large gap signifies women earning a lower salary then men. This article discusses member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with the largest wage gap.

10. Austria (18.19% gender wage gap)

The gender wage gap in Austria stands at 18.19%. According to the European Union report released in 2015, 45,6% of women worked part-time compared to 10.3% of men which resulted in low working hours. In 2013, the employment rate of men stood at 76% while that of women stood at 66.9%, a factor that also contributed to the wage rate disparity.

9. Switzerland (18.52% gender wage gap)

The gender wage gap in Switzerland stands at 18.52%. Education disparity plays a significant role, with one woman in every three men aged 64 had tertiary education. Career progression was also to blame as women dominated the lower paying jobs.

8. Finland (18.73% gender wage gap)

Finland has a gender pay disparity of 18.73%, according to OECD. Reports state that women in the country hold fewer leadership positions than men and women also work in lower paying jobs than men. Just like in Canada, women in Finland are unable to negotiate for higher salaries, like men can.

7. Canada (18.97% gender wage gap)

Canada’s gender wage gap stands at 18.97% according to OECD reports. The wage gap is attributed to the different career paths between men and women with women dominating the low paying jobs. The art of negotiation is also against women who are willing to work for less salary than men in the same position.

6. Turkey (20.06% gender wage gap)

According to OECD reports, Turkey’s gender wage gap stands at 20.06%. The high wage gap is attributed to the low number of women in the labor force compared to that of men. Between 2002 and 2012, the European Union estimated that the employment rate of women grew from 9.9% to 10.6%.

5. Netherlands (20.46% gender wage gap)

The Netherlands ranks fifth in the OECD ranking and second in the EU, with a 20.46% gender wage gap. One of the factors for this discrepancy is that women undertake more part-time jobs than men due to household chores and motherhood, a factor that limits their ability to earn more. According to Eurostat, wage discrepancy escalated in particular sectors like in the financial and insurance sector where the wage gap was 28.3%.The OECD also reports that few women hold executive positions - fewer than 5% of board members of listed companies.

4. Israel (21.83% gender wage gap)

The gender wage gap in Israel is rarely spoken of but according to OECD, the gap stood at 21.83%. Although the gap is relatively high compared to other EOCD countries, the country has made a significant step dropping the gap margin by 6.3% since 2001. In the 1980s, only 30% of girls were attending school compared to more than 90% today. The large wage gap is attributed to men holding more executive positions and that more men engage in riskier jobs for longer hours that were compensated higher than women.

3. Japan (26.59% gender wage gap)

Japan ranks third among EOCD countries with gender wage gap of 26.59%. One of the factors highlighted is the education, although Japan has made considerable progress in providing equal education, the career choice of men and women affects their wages. Sixty percent of graduated women end up in the health and education fields and only 10% engage in the technological sector. On the other hand, Japanese women face difficulty raising to top positions, and only 5% are in executive positions of listed companies. A lot of women also withdraw from the labor force to raise children and have difficulties going back into the workforce.

2. Estonia (31.5% gender wage gap)

The survey places Estonia second with a wage gap of 31.5%. Their gender wage gap is the largest in Europe and nearly twice the average wage gap of the European Union, although the country has a high number of employed in employment compared to other EU nations. The Estonian Gender Equality Act of 2010 does not set out the legal requirement requiring organizations to maintain equal wages for men and women at the same job level, leaving women vulnerable. The gender wage gap is a reflection of marginalization of women. At the end of 2016, women representation in the Estonian parliament stood at 23.8%. However, the country took a significant step by voting in the first female president.

1. South Korea (36.6% gender wage gap)

Surprisingly, South Korea has the largest gender pay gap among the OECD countries. A survey conducted by the organization revealed that a woman in the country is likely to earn 36.6% less that what a man would earn; the largest gender wage gap among the 35 member states. The large wage gap is attributed to the fact that women between mid-20s and mid-30s leave their jobs to raise children and return to the job market in their 40s. The wage gap is reducing at a minuscule rate considering that in 2000 it was reported to be 40%.


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