Women paid 22% less than men, gap declining

WOMEN, who make up just more than 50% of Ireland’s working population of two million, are paid 22% less than men, according to the latest Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report.

The report goes on to reveal, however, the gap in remuneration is declining steadily in most industrial nations – something largely attributable in Ireland to the range of equality legislation introduced since the 1970s.

The survey, which was published yesterday, also found there was little to support the view that women did better when employed in female-led firms.

Ms Renee Dempsey, the chief executive of the Equality Authority, said the research showed that women in Ireland still have some way to go to achieve parity.

She called for greater targeted policies to promote gender equality within the workplace and suggested there was a need to facilitate greater sharing of care between men and women to address the potential wage reductions associated with taking time out to raise a family.

The report entitled, The Gender Wage Gap in Ireland, was based on evidence from the National Employment survey of 2003.

In its sectoral analysis the report revealed the gender wage gap was widely distributed ranging from 13% in the hotel industry compared to 46% in the education sector.

Ms Dempsey said that on average men had more years of work experience than women and this factor was identified the single biggest contributor to the pay gap.

It also found that centralised wage bargaining – specifically the implementation of the national wage agreements – benefited women within both the full time and part time labour markets.

Mr Seamus McGuinness, ESRI research officer, said the overall wage model showed that men’s greater presence in managerial occupations added somewhat to the gender pay gap as did women’s relative concentration in clerical occupations.

The report concluded that as women acquire more education and gain increasing levels of experience from reduced family related absences the pay gap would close further.


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