In general, the gender gap is defined as the difference between men and women reflected in political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural attainments and attitudes. In the area of economics, it characterizes the difference on the basis of gender in relation to salaries, representation in the workplace, and the leaders’ number. From a personal perspective, the gender gap is predominantly a women’s issue as, in the concepts of employability and labor, women are traditionally more discriminated against in comparison with men. Women receive less money than men for the same amount of jobs, they are disproportionately in low-paid work, and research services, information technologies, and grants are more accessible to men (Bargain et al., 2019). Moreover, in relation to entrepreneurship, the gender gap has “the first-order effect of reducing women’s likelihood of acquiring entrepreneurship-relevant resources, experiencing entrepreneurial career previews, and being exposed to industry opportunity spaces for launching new firms” (Tonoyan, 2020, p. 181).
Closing the Gap
Derived from traditions, religious beliefs, a lack of education for women, and the organization of society, the phenomenon of the gender gap is still widespread even in the present day when the ideas of gender equality gain popularity across the globe. Regardless of the adoption of the Convention on all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979, more than 2 billion women live in countries where discrimination is common both in practice and law (United Nations, n.d.). In addition, employment protection legislation, union density, maternity pay entitlement, pensions system design, formal child care, Kaitz index, national minimum wage, and minimum wage setting are among the factors that contribute to the existence of the gender gap. (Gogoladze, 2019). In order to close the gap, women should influence the situation through the cultivation and use of negotiation skills, addressing governmental and international authorities, and self-promotion.
In general, government initiatives traditionally focus on gender equality rather than on the gender gap. According to the International Labor Office (ILO), legal mechanisms that focus on the establishment of minimum wage levels are highly significant as they help to protect women from deprivation and poverty (Rubery & Koukiadaki, 2016). In addition, wage policies in a considerable number of countries regularly adjust to price levels. In addition, ILO Convention No. 100 refers to the member states’ duty to “ensure the application to all workers of the principle of equal pay” (Rubery & Koukiadaki, 2016, p. 20). However, in reality, the minimum wage frequently applies only to some countries’ private sector, while in the public sector, women remain discriminated against. Approximately 30% of women are currently excluded from national labor legislation and 36% are not entitled to maternity protection (Rubery & Koukiadaki, 2016). In addition, instead of equal pay, the whole low-paid sectors of economics are created if the number of employed women in them is prevalent. In addition, women continue to experience unethical discrimination in the workplace due to cultural or religious beliefs concerning men’s seeming intellectual superiority.
There are the following several points that should be considered by competent human resource professionals during recruitment planning when planning compensation and pay if a company undertakes efforts to close the gender gap:
- Candidates should be evaluated on the basis of their competency and professional skills regardless of their gender;
- Maternity and childcare leave for women should be included in recruitment planning;
- Fair compensation on the basis of performance is crucial in retaining and motivating employees.
Bargain, O., Doorley, K., & Van Kerm, P. (2019). Minimum wages and the gender gap in pay: New evidence from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Review of Income & Wealth, 65(3), 514-539. Web.
Gogoladze, P. (2019). Gender income gap over life-cycle: Cross-country analysis. University of Tartu – Faculty of Economics & Business Administration Working Paper Series, 117, 1-80.
Rubery, J. & Koukiadaki, A. (2016). Closing the gender pay gap: A review of the issues, policy mechanism and international evidence. International Labour Organization.
Tonoyan, V., Strohmeyer, R., & Jennings, J. E. (2020). Gender gaps in perceived start-up ease: Implications of sex-based labor market segregation for entrepreneurship across 22 European countries. Administrative Science Quarterly, 65(1), 181-225. Web.
United Nations. (n.d.). Women and girls – closing the gender gap. Web.