Womenstill Not Equal on Pay Scale GENDER INEQUALITY

Cape Times (South Africa), April 17, 2018 | Go to article overview

Womenstill Not Equal on Pay Scale GENDER INEQUALITY


THERE is no denying that although women in South Africa have, since the dawn of democracy, come a long way and made significant advancements in business and politics, among other spheres of life, they still lag far behind their male counterparts in many ways - including when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.

The World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2017 Global Gender Report findings revealed that gender parity is more than 200 years away. South Africa is ranked 19th in the global index report on gender inequality, with men still earning 2 percent more than women.

According to another study conducted at the University of Johannesburg, the South African gender pay gap is estimated, on average, to be between 15 percent and 17 percent. One of the implications in this regard is that a South African woman would have to work two months more than a man to earn the equivalent salary he would earn in a year.

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that it takes women 10 more years to earn a man's pay. This means that when a man retires at the age of 60, a female counterpart would have to work 10 more years, to the age of 70, to make up the difference and close this lifetime wage gap. There is no question that a gender pay gap remains a reality in South Africa, 24 years into democracy. One can't help but question whether gender parity is even possible in our lifetime.

Gender inequality in the workplace is a topic that has been instantaneously beaten to death in public discourse and yet very little or no action results in redress, particularly in the private sector.

Women are still likely to be paid less or passed over for some jobs or promotions because of the way employers perceive existing or future family commitments.

As the corporate environment becomes more competitive and the need grows for efficiency rates to increase, most employers are looking for "an ideal worker", that being someone who is flexible to the employer's convenience and is available 24/7, with no child caring or family responsibilities. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is a male.

Less loyal

It is said that women are also seen to be less loyal to the company and more likely to exit the workplace in their child-bearing years, and this has also led to most women trading off money for family-friendly working conditions. …

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