There is no wage discrimination by gender, the problem is another

It is undeniable, all statistics show, that there is a notable wage gap between men and women. For example, it is estimated that women charge 20% less than men, even with a higher level of training.

This devastating statistic leads many to think that there is wage discrimination by gender, but it is not so (or at least not beyond isolated cases). The truth is that if it were so the solution would be very easy, since to identify those who skip the law and to fine them would be enough to solve the problem, but the reality (always stubborn) is more complex.

Causes of the wage gap

wage discrimination by gender
Image Source: Google Image

The problem of the wage gap is much more complex. A good example of the causes is found in the exhaustive report of the Korn Ferry Hay Group, with data throughout the world and also collects information from other studies.

The main problem for this wage gap is that women do not have access to the best paid positions, the best jobs and the best sectors . And the men do access to these positions.

To give an example of the highest paid positions and functions of Fortune 500 companies, women hold only 16.9% of Council sites and 14.6% of executive posts ( 2013).

And it is that in the positions of lower level there are many women, even more than the men. But as we move up the scale there are fewer women. Of course, when a woman reaches a position of relevance, the wage gap is reduced or even disappears.

wage discrimination by gender
Image Source: Google Image

Another problem is that women do not access sectors with higher wages. For example, in the STEM sector (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), women are only present at 30%. And leave the sector by other professions 53% compared to 31% of men.

This is the key: women choose sectors that are considered kinder to them, by social pressure, and then do not rise or stabilize without labor ambition for family reasons.

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Possible solutions

The problem, as we have seen, is much more serious than a simple (though very serious) wage discrimination. How can it be done for women to choose professions where they pay the best? How is it possible for women to access better jobs within a company without having to give up having a family?

The first question has much difficulty. It is an educational and cultural work that clashes with traditions, and is very difficult to change, is like trying to stop a train that goes very fast: inertia is too strong. But it can be tried, visualizing women who occupy jobs that supposedly are not habitual and naturalizing it.

wage discrimination by gender
Image Source: Google Image

The second issue is also complicated, but it has solutions, both legal and at the company level. Legal because promoting family reconciliation would allow women to access positions of responsibility, which is also proven to be good for companies.

This conciliation at the public level could happen to equate paternity leave and maternity leave (in an inalienable way) and having a better network of public day care centers. At the company level it could be to create a culture change at all levels: to establish reasonable and flexible hours and not to reward the presence but to work for results. If a family has children and a position requires 12 hours in the office, one of the couple can not access this type of position and in the end it is always the woman who sacrifices their working life.

In short, this is a case of a complex problem not as obvious as it might seem and with cultural, legal and company-wide solutions that would certainly benefit us all.

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