To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow -William Faulkner

Today I feel like writing about equality.

I had first chosen a funnier quote (by Maureen Reagan:
I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there.)
but actually think the subject serious enough not to joke about it – at least not today.

Definition of Gender Equality:
Gender equality means an equal visibility, empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life.

Defintion of pay-gap:
The pay gap measures the relative difference in the average gross hourly earnings of women
and men within the economy as a whole.

Some facts:

  • For equal occupation, women still earn less than their male counterparts (in general 15% less)
  • The gender pay gap increases with experience, age and education.
  • Almost 40% of women work in health, education and public administration,
    compared to 20% of men. Moreover, women are mainly employed as administrative
    assistants, shop assistants or low-skilled or unskilled workers — these occupations accounting for almost half of the female workforce. Conversely, only a third of managers are women in companies within the EU.
  • Part-time work is more prevalent among women (over 30% of women work part time compared to less than 10% of men).

My personal experience has given me the following reasons (in no particular order):

  • Work experience is worth less than a degree
  • Female work experience is paid less than male work experience
  • Classification and valuation of jobs is not equal for men and women (for example, more value can be attributed to physical strength than to interpersonal skills, or more value can be attached to responsibility for capital than to responsibility for people).
  • It is assumed that women will work less due to maternity and childcare leave
  • Part-time work is generally less well paid (than full-time work) and is often marginalised within the organisation (fewer prospects for career advancement and limited access to training)
  • Leadership skills are often identified with ‘masculine’ characteristics
  • Women’s job choices are often in lower paying sectors (see facts above)

I do not want to go into what actions should be taken to reduce this gap. I just wanted to know from you what your experiences in this field are. Have you experienced this in your work, sector and country? How?

Thanks for your comments.

Tackling the pay gap between women and men
Best and Worst State Economies for Women – 2006
EU gender pay gap ‘not narrowing’
Council of Europe – Equality

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4 Responses to To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow -William Faulkner

  1. Indeterminacy says:

    You didn’t mention sexual harrassment at all, and I hope you never experienced it.

    My experience in America was that this problem is taken very seriously. In Germany not at all. If a woman has problems at a company she works for, it’s her problem. She is the one who will have to leave if she doesn’t like it.

  2. La delirante says:

    Great post!

    My job experience in my country was very very bad: low wages, no incentives, no unions, and I had to do the job of about 4 people, some of the bosses expected to be “obeyed” by just shouting, if the “right” people didn’t like you then you didn’t get a promotion. The jobs that were equals to really working were paid peanuts while as the management jobs would usually earn sometimes 7 times what you were earning…and they didn’t do much because it was all done for them. Usually men held the better paid positions. Women were usually the receptionists and secretaries as well as “administrative”…

    I agree with indeterminacy that in the USA the sexual harrassment problem is taken seriously apparently. My country has a long way to go though in that respect. Once I complained to one of the managers (a woman) about a similar problem I was experiencing with one of the bosses and the woman told me, well, “he is a man, perhaps he was drunk”!!!…anyway, I am much better off now where I am working here.

    Have a lovely day!


  3. weirsdo says:

    I got the impression my male bosses resented my criticism more because I was a woman. I’m happy with less well paid, more autonomous work, but my abilities and qualifications are definitely underused. My husband makes the money and benefits, but he pays a price in stress working for the same dumbasses.

  4. alok says:

    good post. do find time to visit my blogs


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