Wage gap: however you slice the economic pie, women earn less

Photo: depositphotos
Photo: Depositphotos

A new study published in the ESB economic journal on Wednesday finds that women not only earn less than men across the board, but that they also bring down average wages.

‘The proportion of women in a profession mainly has a dampening effect on wages in professions dominated by women,’ Joey Tang of Maastricht University and his co-researchers wrote in their article, Meer vrouwen in beroep dempt de lonen, which translates as ‘more women in a profession damps down wages.’

Although men are comparatively worse off in female-dominated occupations, such as education and caregiving, they still earn more than women. And women who choose typically male professions benefit less from their higher average wages than men, who earn more. The wage disparity is, in fact, greatest in typical male occupations in the Netherlands.

Gender segregation in occupations
Women, even after adjustment for years employed, education and position, earn on average 10.2% less gross per hour than men. The gap narrows to 8.4% in occupations heavily dominated by women. Part of the difference, according to the researchers, can be explained by gender segregation in occupations.

In female-dominated occupations, women earn 7.6% less than men, 8.6% less in mixed occupations and 9.7% in male-dominated occupations.

According to the researchers: ‘Although men in every profession have a wage advantage over women, in the male-dominated occupations, they are better able to capitalise on that advantage.’

Pay gap

The European Commission puts the Dutch pay gap at 14.2%, a little worse than the European average of 13%. The Netherlands also underperforms when it comes to the number of female executives and women in science and technology jobs compared to other OECD countries.

The FD says this latest research debunks the theory that women are paid less because they invest more energy in child rearing and their homes than their professions.

Researchers also say that the fact that an occupation with equivalent skills, training and responsibility is lower-paying the more women work in it, possibly indicates gender discrimination. It seems that the more women there are, the less the work is deemed to be worth.

In order to attract more men to women’s professions, the research finds wages will have to dramatically increase. That probably means only the tiniest of increases for women, it predicts.

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