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Global Wage Report 2012/13

Gender pay gap drops, but not for the right reasons

An ILO report says women’s pay has become closer to that of men in most countries but warns that in some cases this may just mean that men are worse off now than before the crisis.

News | 19 December 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – The gap between women’s and men’s pay has declined over the crisis years in most countries, but not always for the right reasons, according to the ILO's Global Wage Report 2012/13.

“In some cases, this is because men’s situation in the labour market has deteriorated while women’s situation has improved or stayed the same,” said Kristen Sobeck, one of the co-authors of the ILO’s Global Wage Report 2012/13.

In Estonia, for example, changes in the gender pay gap are usually cyclical, increasing in times of growth and decreasing during recessions.

Men’s situation in the labour market has deteriorated while women’s situation has improved or stayed the same.”
Men worked in sectors that were hardest hit by the crisis and also worked fewer hours, which helped to narrow the pay gap.

In some Middle Eastern countries few women are employed and those who do earn more than men.

In Syria, for example, only about 13 per cent of women were economically active in 2010 before the civil war, but 74 per cent of them worked in the public sector, where wages were about 1.5 times higher than in the private sector.

There are major differences across the globe when it comes to how much men and women are paid. Statistics sometimes vary depending on whether all full-time, or part-time employees are considered.

In Norway, the gap in hourly wages is lowest for part-time work. This means that men and women who work part-time have similar pay. But men earn considerably more than women in full-time employment. The gender pay gap is even higher when all employees are taken into account, because a larger proportion of women work part-time, where hourly pay is lower than for full-time work.