Special Report

Even The Best Countries for Working Women Don’t Pay Fairly

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10. Burundi
> Avg. cents earned by women per dollar of male earnings: 78.9 cents
> Annual income gap: $-211
> Share of women working: 81.5%
> Share of women in top positions: 32.4%

Burundi, a country of about 10 million people in East Africa, is the only nation in the top 10 where women actually earn more than men — the estimated annual earned income is $875 for women and $664 for men. The 32% difference in favor of women is the biggest among all 149 countries in the Global Gender Report. Their jobs are mostly in the agricultural sector, which accounts for about 90% of the country’s export.

While the economic ranking for women in the country is high, educational attainment is not. Burundi ranks 130th in the Global Gender Report. About 55% of women can read and write, compared with 70% of men, and only 4% are enrolled in tertiary education, such as college or trade school, compared with 9% for men.

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9. Philippines
> Avg. cents earned by women per dollar of male earnings: 79.3 cents
> Annual income gap: $3,084
> Share of women working: 51.4%
> Share of women in top positions: 51.5%

The Philippines’ overall gender gap has actually widened. The country ranks eighth in 2018, down from being No. 6 in 2006. It has the highest percentage of women legislators, senior officials and managers (51.5%), as well as professional and technical workers (58.2%). This may reflect the Philippines’ high education ranking — more women are enrolled in primary, secondary and tertiary education than in most countries.

Even though the gender gap score is high, there are no non-discrimination laws for hiring women. Economic growth and progress made in reducing the gender gap over the years have not translated into sufficient employment growth for women.

The agriculture sector is one of the largest employers of women, but still offers fewer jobs for them. The labor participation for women is just over 51%, while for men it is 77%.

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8. United States
> Avg. cents earned by women per dollar of male earnings: 79.6 cents
> Annual income gap: $25,499
> Share of women working: 66.2%
> Share of women in top positions: 40.5%

When it comes to economic participation and opportunity, American women are doing worse than men in all aspects except university enrollment and the number of professional and technical workers — 59.9% are women. Still, they make less than 80% of what men make for similar work.

Also, while women work more minutes per day, a higher percentage of the work they do is unpaid. Women don’t get paid for an average of 242 minutes of work each day, compared with 148 minutes for men, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of mostly rich countries. If women were paid for that work, $28 trillion would be added to the world economy.

This and other factors, such as political empowerment, contribute to an overall gender gap ranking of 51st out of 149 in 2018, compared with 23rd out of 114 in 2006.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Finland
> Avg. cents earned by women per dollar of male earnings: 79.6 cents
> Annual income gap: $14,642
> Share of women working: 74.3%
> Share of women in top positions: 31.3%

Finland has consistently ranked high when it comes to closing the overall gender gap. It was in the top three in 2006, although it has slipped since then. Slightly more women are professional or technical workers, and more women attend school (95%), especially college, than men (80%).

Still, despite laws against discrimination and paying differently on the basis of sex, women make $37,665 compared with $52,297 for men. Part of the difference can be explained by the kind of jobs they have. The sectors that employ mostly women – over 90% — are child care, health care, office work and cleaning, fields that are not highly paid.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Guinea
> Avg. cents earned by women per dollar of male earnings: 79.8 cents
> Annual income gap: $761
> Share of women working: 65.2%
> Share of women in top positions: n/a

There isn’t a big difference in employment in Guinea — 65.2% of women and 66.4% of men have jobs — but almost everything else is heavily in men’s favor. About twice as many men have a higher education degree and they make about 30% more money a year, despite a law that mandates equal pay.

Women’s roles in the country are still often limited to the household and being wives and mothers. While unmarried women are not discriminated against legally, married women do face inequalities under the law when it comes to access to employment, choosing where to live, and being head of the family.

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