Gender pay gap remains static

According to research, the gender pay gap in South African has remained static at about 35%  “This means women effectively earn in a full year what most men are earning in just 8 months,” says Sandra Burmeister, CEO of executive search firm Amrop Landelahni. The earlier gains in closing the gender pay gap in many countries, including the US, UK, Brazil and South Africa, have been reversed, which, according to Burmeister, is alarming to say the least. “Even if a slow rate of change were to be maintained, it would take nearly 50 years for women’s pay to reach parity with that of men” she says.

When the gender pay gap is taken into account on a global level, South Africa is doing well. It remains among the top 20 in the World Economic Forum overall gender gap rankings. According to the WEF’s 2013 Global Gender Gap Report, Iceland continues to top the ranks, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. The report stated that sub-Saharan Africa region has an overall gender gap of 34%.

If we were to look at education, South Africa shows a dramatic rise through the ranks to number 57, which was at 84 in 2012, and has basically reached gender parity. “This is largely because of a higher literacy rate and enrolement in primary education,” says Burmeister. If we were to look at the gender gap when it comes to secondary education, women in South Africa are higher than men.

“The sub-Saharan Africa region continues to show the largest education gender gap at 17%. This does not bode well for the future. Education serves as the springboard to economic gender equality” Burmeister says, “SA and many of its neighbours fall into the group of countries that are investing in women’s health and education, yet are failing to reap the benefits in terms of economic participation, which is something that needs increased focus in SA.”

Burmeister also says that research shows that women bring different perspectives and leadership styles to business and positively affect organisational performance and financial results. “As South African companies look north to opportunities across Africa, it makes sound business-sense to draw on the full complement of skills. That means maximising the contribution of 100% of the workforce – and paying men and women the same rate for the same job” she says.

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