Little hope of closing the gender pay gap


Women in South Africa earn 27 percent less than men, on average

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest global index report on gender inequality, which was published in October 2017, the slow progress towards better pay parity between men and women has come to a halt. Meanwhile, a study by market research firm Ipsos found that South African women earn on average about 27 percent less than men.


The WEF warned that the slow rate of progress towards gender parity, especially in the economic realm, poses a particular risk, given the fact that many jobs that employ a majority of women are likely to be hit proportionately hardest by the coming age of technological disruption known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution


“A decade of slow but steady progress on improving parity between the sexes came to a halt in 2017, with the global gender gap widening for the first time since the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006,” reads the WEF report.


Among the reasons for this significant disparity is that men and women have different productive characteristics, which drive them to work in different occupations and different industries associated with different rates of pay and benefits. Women usually take jobs in sectors that are generally characterised by low pay, low status, low value, poor career prospects, fewer options for upskilling, and often with informal working arrangements.


The concentration of women and men in different sectors and occupations is a major cause of the gender pay gap, the gender gap in pensions and women’s overall economic dependence throughout their life.


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