According to (Ortiz-Ospina, 2018) in almost all countries , if you compare the wages of men and women you find that women tend to earn less than men. These inequalities have been narrowing across the world. In particular , over the last couple of decades most high-income countries have seen sizeable reductions in the gender pay gap.
(Ortiz-Ospina, 2018) also added that an important part of the difference in the gender pay gap in wealthy countries over the previous decades is because of a historical narrowing, and often even reversal of the education gap between men and women. However, education is relatively irrelevant to explain the remaining gender pay gap in countries in modern days. The gender pay gap is not a direct form of discrimination , however proof suggests that the understanding of discrimination is important when dealing with the concept of the gender pay gap. Social norms affecting the gender distribution of labour are important determinants of wage inequality . The best modest factors contributing to the gender pay gap is psychological attributes and non- cognitive skills.
The gender wage gap is unadjusted and is defined as the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to median earnings of men.
2.Gender pay inequality in the workplace
“According to a study conducted at the University of Johannesburg, the South African gender pay gap is estimated, on average to be between 15% and 17%”.
From the above quotation we can estimate that a woman would need to work two months more than the average male to obtain an equivalent salary than what he would earn per annum.
Mokoyane (2017) added from a source from The National Bureau of Economic Research that it takes women 10 more years to earn a man’s pay and if we dpn’t close the gender wage gap , the typical woman that is 20 years of age starting a full-time work today would stand to lose an approximate amount of R5 million over a 40 year career period compared to her male counterpart.
An experiment in 2012 revealed that science professor that hired a lab manager offered the male applicant a salary of R50000 more than the female and also judged that the male applicant is more competent than the female.
Women are over-represented in low-wage jobs and they are part of the 60.67 % of workers that earn less than R150/hour . Women demand to know why they earn less than men , because once it was because they were uneducated but that is obviously not the case anymore . The women have been answered that the reason for the pay gap is because they are seen to be less loyal to the company and more likely to leave the workplace during pregnancy. It is also added that the long-term value of women in the workplace is a lot lower than that of the man who does not have the same obligations outside of work.This explains that the culture ,which continues to favour men’s participation in the workplace and women’s participation on the home front ;which is a very huge injustice to women.
‘The NBER research also found that progress in pay parity has been slower among women in highly skilled professions than those in professions that don’t require a college or graduate degree (MOKONYANE, 2017).’
Mokoyane (2017) further added that there is hope, although mining and other heavy industries lag behind in terms of gender pay equity, South African service industries are better attuned to the needs of women. These sectors have a high percentage of women employees. More encouraging is that salaries in government are better for both men and women than comparable jobs in the private sector. We must double our efforts to reverse these imbalances and achieve equal pay for equal work.
3.How can South Africa bridge the gap?
(Kamuru, 2018) stated that gender inequality is a difficult problem and that we aren’t doing enough to correct it. At the present rate,the Global Gender Gap will be closed in roughly 100 years but the broaden economic gap would require over 200 years . She said that it is time to speak up and further added that being silent about what is fair ,equitable and just, is stripping women of dignity an wealth.
According to Kamuru(2018) there are three things that can be done to bridge the gap namely :
1. “Work to better understand and challenge structures that support and maintain inequality whether they are political, social and economic. Speak up for more equal relationships in private and public spheres. You don’t need to be a woman to stand up for gender equality.
2. Systems are interconnected. An unequal political system will not yield or support greater economic equality, neither will a company or government that condones and encourages high levels of internal inequality support or implement policies that promote gender or other equality. Reducing inequalities must therefore extend beyond gender to regional, ethnic, class and other inequalities.
3. Talk about your salary with female friends, colleagues and partners. Information asymmetry is key to sustaining the gender pay gap. Remember too this is about a lot more than money. It is about dignity. Be considerate and respectful in discussions on unequal pay and inequality in general. Press for progress. Negotiate like you are negotiating for your children, your grandchildren, your great-granddaughters, because you are. Let’s change course and make the sacrifices today to help close the gender gap in more African countries in our lifetime.”
4.Consequences of the gender pay gap
According to Rachelson(2018) the gender pay gap has long-term implications. Women lose out on pension and other benefits that are related to basic salary.If pay issues became more transparent, they could be more actively addressed than in the clandestine way they are currently handled. A pay gap audit will offer a way forward with quantifiable facts. In South Africa, the Employment Equity Act sets out non-discrimination legislation, the principle of equal pay for equal value. So men, women, different race groups and hose with disabilities should not be earning differently for the same work.
Women downplay their achievements and attempt to communicate in as non-threatening a way as possible which is not conducive to getting higher pay.
It has been found that around 66 percent of women tend to accept a wage offer without negotiating any aspect of it.Other issues include the implications of child bearing such as career breaks as well as less investment in women` s training and development.
The issue of the motherhood penalty and fatherhood bonus fuels pay differences. When women take a career break due to child responsibilities it affects their pay, but men who become fathers are seen as breadwinners and having to support a family and consequently they are paid more.
5. Laws aimed at addressing gender pay gap
The Employment Equity Amendment Act, No 47 of 2013 (EEAA) was promulgated into law on 1 August 2014 along with a new set of regulations introduced by Government Gazette Notice 37873 (Regulations).
The EEAA amends the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998 (EEA) to strengthen the EEA’s objective of achieving equity in the workplace through the pursuit of two key objectives, namely: The promotion of equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace
An employer is not permitted to unfairly discriminate against any employee on any of the following listed grounds: race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language and birth, or on any other arbitrary ground. In terms of s6(2)(a) of the EEA, an employer may however fairly discriminate if the discrimination is based on: inherent requirement of the job affirmative action
EQUAL PAY UNDER THE EEA SECTION 6(4) OF THE EEA, AS FROM 1 AUGUST 2014, NOW READS AS FOLLOWS: “A difference in terms and conditions of employment between employees of the same employer performing the same or substantially the same work or work of equal value that is directly or indirectly based on any one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (1) or on any other arbitrary ground is unfair discrimination.” Section 6(4) now emphasizes the requirement of equal pay and prohibits differentiation in terms and conditions of employment, including employment policies and practices, among employees who work for the same employer and who fall within the category of work that is the same, substantially the same or work of equal value, if that differentiation is based on a prohibited ground. A differentiation as envisaged in s6(4) constitutes unfair discrimination if it is directly or indirectly based on one or more of the listed grounds set out in s6(1) or any other arbitrary ground.