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Equal Pay for Women Free Essay

Since the ancient times, women have had unequal starting opportunities. They have not been equally paid for the same work compared with men. The existence of the patriarchal views has greatly stimulated a vigorous activity of women. The existing national mechanisms are not capable of providing the equal opportunities for females and males in all spheres of life. Gender asymmetry is caused partly by a negative perception of the active participation of women in labor activities. Despite the large-scale democratic changes, which took place in the 20th century all over the world and have significantly changed the position of females; their main problem is to receive the equal rights and payments with men (Haspels and Majurin 3). Therefore, the determination of the place and role of a woman in the society and labor market as well as an analysis of their rights for labor realization will be investigated. Moreover, the essay will analyze the equal pay and the formation of recommendations for its improvement.

According to the constitutions of many countries, everyone has the right for the labor compensation without any discrimination (Chichilnisky and Frederiksen 298). The labor code forbids it, including the violation of the principle of “an equal pay for equal work.”

Equal pay for equal work means that similarly qualified women and men are paid the same when they perform the same or virtually the same work, in the same area of activity and in equivalent conditions. Sometimes, the scope is even more restrictive limiting equal pay for equal work to comparison of the same jobs within the same enterprise (Haspels and Majurine 14).

Discrimination is a criminal offense. The equal rights and opportunities in employment, promotion for work, equal pay, and advanced training are equally provided to women and men. Employers are obliged to create the working conditions, which should allow females and males to work at an equal basis, provide both sexes with an opportunity to combine the labor and family obligations, and take some measures for the creation of safe working conditions. Employers are not allowed to offer the vacancies only to women or men, except for the specific work, which can be carried out only by the employees of the defined gender (Chicha 2).

There are several important problems in the world today that include gender discrimination in the employment and dismissal, the right of women for a fair and equal compensation working at the same work with men, and creating the favorable conditions considering a reproductive function of females. Moreover, some economic as well as social guarantees to combine professional and family duties successfully compose the most urgent issues as well (Haspels and Majurine 15). The right of women for labor and equal pay represent a major social and economic right giving an opportunity for each person to earn the own living. The main objectives of the world legislation in a lot of countries providing the equal rights and pay lie in the formation of a legal mechanism to ensure these authorities both to men and women once employed, terminated or promoted (Polachek 7).

Background of the Problem

Nowadays in the social labor relationships, the problem of gender job specialization is understood as distributing the occupations between women and men. It is based on the traditions and customs, formally and informally fixed in practice and consciousness of people. The female labor activity in the USA, as well as in many other countries, is limited to a rather narrow range of industries. Most of Americans at the age of 23-55 years are occupied in the service trade spheres; and 90% of working women are employed in the same areas after the graduation of four-year colleges (Chichilnisky and Frederiksen 301). Unlike in the previous century, when women composed the main power of the textile industry, today, they are mainly occupied in the office work. Despite the faster growth of the education level, the majority of females still experience the limitations of professional opportunities. They are occupied in the traditionally female professions (teachers, nurses, etc.) that are being less paid. The ratio of their salary in comparison with the earnings of men remains one of the most discrimination problems among the developed countries (except for Japan) (Arulampalam, Booth and Bryan 164). However, an increase of the educational level can become an important factor for weakening the female discrimination in the labor compensation. It will involve the strengthening of their position in the market and allow them to interfere in the traditionally male professions.

At the same time, some factors promoting the growth of labor employment and strengthening the characteristics of females in the labor sphere often lead to making their professional segregation stronger. The intensively developed service sphere increases the use of the female work, at the same time limiting their activities to a very narrow circle of professions (Polachek 8). The development of new types of activities, the implementation of new technologies in non-traditional forms of job management allows using the female labor more widely. It gives them an opportunity to work at home, part-time, or within flexible hours. However, these factors, which initially have become very attractive for females, soon deprived them of social privileges, insurance, and other benefits. Therefore, it resulted in a social isolation (Chicha 3).

Some peculiarities in the female labor should be noted. They involve some global tendencies, the growth of the labor activity among women, the concentration of female employment in the service sphere, and the formation of the privileges system for the employed females among others. The exclusive characteristics of female employment in the developing countries includes the educational level. However, it did not serve to lift the economic mobility for women. Despite the legislatively confirmed right for an “equal pay for equal work,” the authorities of working women to be equally paid are violated (Arulampalam, Booth and Bryan 169). In the same industry of employment, it is distinguished by the professional status and qualification level.

Literature Review

The distinctions in remuneration rates remain as the most chronic forms of inequality between women and men. They are different within various countries and in the same state, between the government and private sectors, as well as among different sectors of economy. The differences in the labor compensation are caused by many attributes. Therefore, it is difficult to understand which of them are connected with different characteristics of the labor market and which compose the result of the indirect or direct discrimination.

The labor market is full with gender prejudices. It means historically, female occupations and jobs were underestimated. There are the distinctions in the competencies to  conducting the collective negotiations. According to Arulampalam, Booth, and Bryan, the policy directed at the eradication of gender discrimination in the field of compensation should counteract not only  the manifestations of inequality in the labor market. However, it  also should as well neutralize existing stereotypes about the role of women and their participation in a social dialogue. Moreover, it is necessary to consider a complex challenge connected with the combination of  labor and family obligations (Arulampalam, Booth and Bryan 172).

An enterprise will pay for the labor of men and women differently if the share of their participation in the accomplishment of home works is estimated differently. According to the Women’s Bureau U.S. Department of Labor (2012), the unequal payment for work is connected with the changes either in the upper or the lowest part of a salary scale or in both. They cause essentially different consequences for the sphere of policy. There are three various types of inequality in the labor compensation. The first scheme, i.e. collapsing bottom, is characterized by the situation when the inequality in the labor compensation amplifies due to the salary reduction in the lowest share. The second plan called flying top represents an opposite case. It occurs when the salary in the upper part of the scale increases quicker than in other groups. The third type is related to the simultaneous changes in both parts of the salary scale. Thus, it leads to its polarization (Figure 1). (Women’s Bureau U.S. Department of Labor 2).

As a rule, the direct discrimination in the sphere of  labor compensation between males and females performing the same work is easily distinguished. However, the international standards require an equal payment for an equivalent working task, irrespectively of the worker’s gender. In order to establish that the different types of occupations are equivalent, the related work assignments should be studied. Such an analysis should be built basing on the criteria and objectives being free from discrimination. Therefore, it will prevent the gender bias in the results of inspection (Chichilnisky and Frederiksen 303). The key aspects of the females work are ignored or belittled in comparison with the male labor. It only strengthens the discrimination in the sphere of labor compensation. Estimating its equality, it is also important to consider all compound salaries, including the basic one, all allowances, and additional payments.

Among the reasons causing discrimination in the field of labor compensation, there are two groups of factors. The first one is caused by the level of obtained education and specialization, the work experience in the labor market, the length of services in the organization or the position, organization size, and the sphere of its activities. The second group of attributes includes the stereotypes and prejudices concerning the work of women and men (Chicha 44). There is not always the exact and reliable global data about the distinctions in the compensation levels connected with gender factors in a breakdown by occupations.

According to Chicha (2008), the gap in the wage sizes has been reduced approximately down to 80%. However, these changes are insignificant. In certain cases, they are feeble. In the majority of countries, women receive on average from 70% to 90% from the salary sizes of males for the equivalent work (Chicha 21). Moreover, the bigger discrepancies are met even more often. They cause the disappointment if to consider the recent achievements of women in education and the gradual narrowing of a gender gap concerning labor experience.

The increasing number of countries accepts the provisions, which guarantee an equal pay to males and females in the labor law. Such states include, for example, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, and Turkey or within the laws on equality, such as Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, Peru, Saint Lucia, and Spain. Some countries, like Canada and Cyprus, have adopted the special regulations about the equal pay both for women and men (Chicha 17). The other states, like Finland, France, and Spain have adopted the anticipatory legal acts requiring the active measures promoting such right to females. In several countries, the inexact interpretation of the equal pay acts has been eliminated. In January 2009, the President of the United States of America Barack Obama approved the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. It simplifies the order of submission of claims about the discrimination in the sphere of compensation basing on gender (Chicha 29). He refers to the previous interpretation of the Equal Opportunities Act, which allows workers to protest any discrimination in the salary size. However, in some countries, there are still some legislative provisions, which do not reflect an idea of the equal pay. Therefore, the regulatory authorities of the world labor organizations urge them to take the necessary actions for a change in legislation (Women’s Bureau U.S. Department of Labor 2).

The guide called “Work, Income and Gender in East Asia: Action Guide” helps overcome a gender gap in a regional context. The practical measures aimed at equal pay for women and men are implemented in Asia (Haspels and Majurin 12). The experimental initiatives are directed at the exception of gender misstatements of assessment techniques in Korea and the Philippines. These means are aimed at such things as follows. These ones include the formation of the equal salary indicators, the preparation of some guidelines reducing the gap in the compensation of men and women, and achievement of the balance between a labor activity and family life. Moreover, they include a propaganda trade-union campaign for the equal pay for the work on the Philippines and in the Asian region, in general (Haspels and Majurin 13).


The given research paper is based on the comparison of female and male wages and the payments in the world as well as the analysis of the given phenomenon. Its comparison in different world countries and the wage gaps allows analyzing an equal pay for women better. Being one of the most widespread methods of cognition, it lets establish the similarity and distinction of objects and phenomena of reality. As a result, the common link inherent in two or several objects is established. The identification of general points repeating in the phenomena allows understanding general regularities and laws. In the given research, the comparison of the primary data has been used. However, it has been not the main aim of it. The primary goal for the application of the method of comparison has been to receive the secondary data, which compose the result of the primary information processing.

All the received information has been thoroughly analyzed after comparing the payment gaps between men and women. The analysis is a research method, which represents the separation of the researched phenomenon on compound elements. The means of analysis and synthesis in the scientific creativity are integrally connected among themselves and can take various forms depending on the properties of the studied object and research objectives. Depending on the extent of knowledge of an object and the depth of penetration into its essence, the method of analysis and synthesis has been applied. They have been used as a powerful tool for the disclosure of the studied phenomenon essence. Analyzing the separate facts, grouping and systematizing them, the general and special principle has been established. Both the analysis and synthesis have been carried out not mechanically but on the basis of theoretical reasons. It has been done based on the assumptions of the relationship between the cause and effect of the researched phenomenon.

Results and Discussion

The research of the equal pay problem for women in the global labor market has showed the following thing. The market relations have bared the forms of discrimination of female labor invisibly earlier with all expenses of over-employment, the discrepancy of the degree of education to the pay level, and the concentration at low-skilled works. However, at the same time, the new opportunities of applying their labor potential have been opened for women. The anti-discrimination measures have given positive results, promoting the mitigation of traditional forms of gender inequality. However, it is much more difficult to change the hardened approaches to the public and an economic role of females (Arulampalam, Booth and Bryan 181). Even some privileges have developed for the good of women can create the threats to the valid inequality on the labor market. The discriminatory practice on the working arena has had a long history and undergone the essential restrictions. It has acquired many disguised forms in the new conditions of the global economy.

There is no sequence in the methods of data collection and statistical methodologies, as well as the problems with the quality of the data obtained in many countries. However, all the information on the comparison and interpretation of the data on the inequality of labor compensation should be double-checked. The reduction of this gap can be explained by the decrease in the size of the male workers’ salary but not its increase for the employed females. It is a characteristic feature of Brazil where there is the tendency when men earn less than women. The statistical data show that the migration of the low-skilled labor power exerts the impact on the distinctions in the compensation of males and females. The labor migration from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe testifies it (Chicha 63).


For the successful implementation of the equal pay policy for women, it is necessary to develop and effectively implement the policy aimed at the struggle with the inequality in paying women. First of all, the ideas concerning the minimum wage revive. It favorably affects the working females with low earnings. Globally, the minimum wage size had increased on average by 5, 7% from 2010 to 2014 (Polachek 7). This tendency of growth is determined by the developing countries. In order to overcome the gender prejudices in this issue for both genders, it is important to establish the minimal wages for the sectors and workplaces where females prevail. What is more, it is necessary to develop and implement the national policy in the field of the employment. It includes the active measures and programs in the sphere of the equal labor market, such as the entrepreneurship of women, the legal protection of the interests of both genders, as well as the monitoring and assessment of their effectiveness at the national level. Thirdly, it is necessary to strengthen the legal protection from the gender discrimination concerning the equal pay for females and males by the means of implementing the social provision programs and guaranteeing the equal compensation in case of gender discrimination (Chicha 34).


The analysis of the current provision of women in modern society shows that the problem of equal pay occupies the significant place in the legislations of different world countries. The objectives of the given research included the analysis of the position of women in the modern society and labor market, the realization of the women’s rights for labor and equal pay as well as the recommendations for the improvement of the current situation. It was found out that despite the rapid growth of the education level, women experienced the limitations of their professional opportunities. In order to observe the compliance with the national legislation systems providing the equal opportunities and equal pay for women and men, it is necessary to develop the control and supervision systems.

Such a state of affairs allows drawing the conclusion that the economic security of women is in many respects determined by such factors as the level of discrimination in society, a condition of the employment sphere, an entrepreneurship, and also extent of the development of the system of social and legal support. In other words, all elements of earnings should be based on the equal criteria for men and women. Thus, not only direct discrimination fixed in the law or other regulation but also the indirect discrimination. For example, the formation of the low-paid groups of the female professions is inadmissible.

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