This Is Why It's So Difficult to Overcome the Gender Wage Gap

As much as 75 percent of women's employment in low-income regions of the world is informal work — or work not protected by labor laws, regulations, or even minimum wages.

While this is an urgent issue facing developing nations in every corner of the globe, industrialized nations also face distinct challenges in achieving gender parity in formal paid employment.

A new analysis titled, "Making Women Count: The Unequal Economics Of Women's Work," released Monday by Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives indicated a persistent wage gap even when factors like work hours, education and work experience were the same between men and women.

The analysis states education is not enough to overcome the gender gap in wages and the workforce, especially when other forces are at play such as an unequal distribution of informal unpaid work, undervaluing work in predominantly female fields, and "unspoken social norms" that offer men higher wages and promotions at the start of their careers.

According to the Oxfam analysis, women in Canada still do twice as much unpaid work each day compared to men. Their hours of household work have changed little over the past two decades. On average, women did 4.2 hours of work a day 20 years ago and currently perform 3.9 hours of work per day today. In comparison, men do an average of 2.4 hours of work per day.

The analysis also noted that women and men tend to work in different professions, where women often earn fewer wages. In Canada, truck drivers (97 percent are male) make a wage of approximately $45,417 a year working full-time whereas early childhood educators (97 percent are female) make a wage of approximately $25,334 a year.

Both women and men in Canada recognize the issue of gender parity in their nation. A research survey conducted for "The Globe and Mail" for International Women’s Day (March 8) showed that out of 1,000 Canadians, the majority don’t believe there is equal pay between men and woman for equal work.

These gender wage gap disparities are not singular to Canada. MAKER Sheryl Sandberg made an important comment during the 2016 MAKERS Conference about how to achieve workforce diversity. "I think our pitch to men has to be, don't do it because it's the right thing, do it because it is good for you," she said about bolstering work forces with more women leaders.

Today the World Economic Forum predicts it will take another 117 years — until 2133 — to achieve full gender parity in the workplace. But it has been proven that women can boost the profitability of business.

We know gender parity isn't just a good ideal; it's smart business sense. This International Women's Day, we're hoping the #PledgeForParity forms a ripple effect for all nations.

NEXT: Gender Neutral Work Life Balance »

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