Women's Reaction to the Gender Pay Gap: A Study of the Pakistan Telecommunication Sector

By Qazi, Qurrat-ul-Ain; Ansari, Nighat G. et al. | Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies: Alam-e-Niswan, December 2018 | Go to article overview

Women's Reaction to the Gender Pay Gap: A Study of the Pakistan Telecommunication Sector


Qazi, Qurrat-ul-Ain, Ansari, Nighat G., Moazzam, Amani, Pakistan Journal of Women's Studies: Alam-e-Niswan


Introduction

As discrimination between men and women continues in various forms across the world, equality between men and women remains a dream yet to come true. One of the most prevalent forms of discrimination is the wage gap, i.e. the difference in the salaries of men and women for doing comparable work: t men get higher wages as compared to women.

Over the course of the last few decades, major economic, social and demographic changes have brought about a radical transformation in the lives of both women and men. One of the most fundamental of these changes has been the massive influx of women into the workforce. Now, all across the world, women have succeeded in attaining high positions in many organizations. In some countries of the world, women have managed to reach the highest political positions as President or Prime Minister; moreover, women hold 22.6 % parliamentary seats in national assemblies (Archiven.d). However, despite an increased number of female employees in the paid labour force, the passage of various laws promising equality, as well as a long history of struggle by feminist movements, discrimination, especially in the form of a gender wage differential, still prevails in varying degrees throughout the world (Vincent 2013, 6).

The gender pay gap has become one of the most extensively researched topics, especially in the Western body of literature (Fransson and Biel 2000, 1-3). To understand the phenomenon under discussion, researchers have employed wide arrays of estimation techniques, models, and data. Ali and Akhtar (2014), in their research, show that the issue of wage discrimination exists not only in developing countries like Pakistan, but also in several other developed countries of the world like the USA, Canada and in European countries as well. Adamy and Overberg (2016) corroborate this finding in an article, which examined 446 major professions in the USA and found that differences in the earnings of male and female labour force is not specific to one occupation but exists in several professions, including both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. According to their data, women workers in almost 439 professions out of 446 in the USA are paid lower than men. The difference persists even when females hold white-collar jobs and elite professions like doctors, financial managers, financial advisers, judges, magistrates and lawyers, social sciences researchers, psychologists, statisticians, computer and software experts, and in different fields of engineering.

Research studies conducted across the world to uncover the factors liable for gender wage gap show that the pay gap is a complex phenomenon and is influenced by many structures of society, for example, social, economic, and organizational structures (Stevens, Bavetta and Gistlament 1993; Blau and Kahn 2006). Blau and Kahn, in their study of gender gap in the 1990s as compared to the 1980s in the USA, found that 60 % of the wage gap could be accredited to known factors: 10% to work experience, race/ethnicity 2.4 %, union status 4%, industry 27.4%, and 27% to choice of occupation or occupational segregation. A huge percentage (41.1%), however, remains unexplained and usually scholars relate it to direct discrimination.

This paper attempts to explore an under-researched area of the gender-gap, i.e., the attitudinal response of women in terms of accepting discrimination as inevitable or resisting and even challenging it. Accepting or challenging attitudes are important as they apparently have a relationship with the sustenance of the phenomenon under study. The acceptance of discriminatory practices might result in perpetuation of this phenomenon (Fransson and to Biel 2000), whereas a challenging attitude might be instrumental in reducing and ultimately eliminating this discrimination.

According to 'Global Employment Trends for Women' published by the ILO in 2012, Pakistan has one of the worst gender imbalances in terms of a gender pay gap. …

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