Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

International Women's Day: Which Nation Has Smallest Pay Gap for Women?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

International Women's Day: Which Nation Has Smallest Pay Gap for Women?

Article excerpt

Several European nations boast smaller pay gaps than the United States, says a new study released on International Women's Day.

Women in the United States have made big strides in reducing the wage gap with men over the past three decades, but pay for women in other industrialized nations is a little more egalitarian on average.

While America's wage gap is much smaller than South Korea's and Japan's, US women still earn nearly a fifth less than their male counterparts. On average among all industrialized nations, women earn about 18 percent less than men despite recent employment rate gains, according to a report the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released Monday to coincide with International Women's Day.

South Korea has the biggest wage gap at 38 percent, followed by Japan at 33 percent.

Belgium has the smallest wage gap: 9 percent. Click below to see where gender-based wage differences are the biggest and smallest among 22 of 30 industrialized countries (Austria, Turkey, Mexico, Slovakia, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway were not ranked).

IN PICTURES: Top 10 developed countries where women make less than men

IN PICTURES: Top 10 developed countries where women's pay comes closest to men's pay

Unequal pay prevails in part because women are more likely to work in lower-paying jobs, which is caused in part because women in nearly all OECD countries spend at least twice as much time as men taking care of children or other relatives, according to the report.

Still, the wage gap does reflect an improvement from 25 years ago, when women earned 26 percent less than men among all OCED countries. The disparity was 32 percent in the US.

Women have narrowed the gap as their employment rates have risen. While fewer than half of all women aged 15 to 64 in OECD countries participated in the labor market in 1970, today nearly 60 percent of women work. …

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