Closing the gender pay gap is more important than ever

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While individual characteristics such as education, working time, occupational segregation, skills or experience explain some of the gender pay gap, the ILO says much of it is due to gender or gender discrimination.

Building on the UN’s commitment to all forms of discrimination, including that of women and girls, Equal Pay Day represents sustained efforts to achieve equal pay for work of equal value.

Women hardest hit

Meanwhile, women have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, including in terms of income security, representation in the hardest hit sectors and gender distribution of family responsibilities.

This, in turn, has negatively impacted their employment and threatened to wipe out decades of progress on gender equality.

As countries emerge from the pandemic, taking action to address gender equality setbacks is not only relevant and timely, but critical for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery.

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Closing the Gap

Governments, employers and workers’ organizations recognize that closing the gender pay gap is more important than ever.

In recent years, more and more governments are proposing transparency measures and information sharing to address the gender pay gap.

According to recent research, wage transparency measures, depending on how they are implemented, can effectively detect pay differentials and reduce broader gender inequalities in the labor market.

“These are early days for wage transparency,” said Manuela Tomei, director of the ILO’s Working Conditions and Equality Division, noting that countries are taking different approaches to promote it.

She pointed out that “there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution”.

“While more time is needed to assess the effectiveness of the various measures and practices, it is encouraging that governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations are seeking innovative solutions, such as pay transparency, to tackle a persistent problem.”

Surprising facts

  • Women are concentrated in lower paid, lower skilled work.
  • For every dollar men earn, women earn 77 cents.
  • Women are underrepresented in decision-making positions.
  • Women perform at least 2.5 times more unpaid work than men.
  • At the current rate, it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap.



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