Closing the gender pay gap: A review of the issues, policy mechanisms and international evidence

The principle of equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value, as set out in the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100), needs to be implemented if gender equality and decent work for all is to be achieved. However, while the principle of equal pay for work of equal value has been widely endorsed, key problem is that the policy mechanisms needed to achieve this objective are not well understood and in fact are both multifaceted and vary according to the institutional context. This paper aspires to review key issues, policy mechanisms and international evidence with respect to closing the gender pay gap. The core focus of this report is on wage setting institutions and their impact on inclusive and gender equitable labour markets. The key message from this report is that gender pay equity needs to be pursued through a policy package that promotes an inclusive and transparent labour market alongside specific measures to address gender pay equity. Strengthening and extending employment standards, through higher minimum wages, more equal rights for non-standard workers and more extensive and inclusive collective bargaining need to be combined with effective gender specific measures to address the undervaluation of women’s work and extend duties on employers to actively promote gender equality.