Exploring the Gender Pay Gap

  • Matt Scott
  • Thursday, August 1st, 2019

The gender pay gap is the term used to describe the difference in income between men and women. There are two main ways that it is assessed. The unadjusted gender pay gap looks purely at the difference in income between women and men, regardless of their career choices, education, the hours that they work, and whether they have taken time off work.

The adjusted gender pay gap takes into account all of those things and aims to compare like for like. This metric considers women and men who are working in similar jobs and have similar backgrounds and aims to highlight the differences in their income.

Women Lose By Both Measures

Under both the adjusted and the unadjusted metrics, women come out as earning less than men, consistently. This should be a huge concern for anyone who cares about the economic health of their country, or for equality in general. Women earn less, so they have less money to save for retirement and are more likely to end up dependant on financial aid when they retire.

Economists from all over the world have investigated the gender pay gap, and it is believed that if women were to be paid equally to men the increase in economic activity would be hugely beneficial for the countries in question. Australian economists believe that changing the gender pay gap could increase GDP by more than 8%.

Changing the World

There are many campaigns that aim to improve gender equality and to support women who are trying to earn on an equal footing. In the UK there are initiatives to see more women appointed to FTSE 100 boardrooms, and there are initiatives that aim to improve pay equality across the board. The high pay commission, for example, wants to address the issue that bosses at top companies earn many orders of magnitude more than the average worker at the companies that they manage.

These initiatives should go a long way towards addressing the gender pay gap, but since some of the gap is caused by women not pursuing the careers that are traditionally higher-earning, it will take time to see change. Discrimination and discouragement happen from a young age, and we may need to work to support the next few generations of women as they grow up and enter their careers, building role models for the generation after them, and changing stereotypes slowly over time.