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Working women in countries all over the world still face an uphill battle for equality according to a recent study released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is an international organization supported by 34 countries that aims to study and promote economic growth through means of shared data resources, and their study, ai???Close the Gender Gap: Act Now,ai??? revealed that while women are making significant gains in the workforces of the represented countries, the majority still do not have the same opportunities that male workers have.
The study, which was released in the last few days of 2012, is, on the whole, a grim portrait of continued gender inequality in schools and the workplace. While many of the statistics it presents are unfortunate, the studyai??i??s authors are quick to point out that each of the 34 companies that are members of the OECD have made very significant gains in the last 50 years, specifically regarding the ability of young women to get an education. Female students have now exceeded male students in reading ability and comprehension, though they still lag behind in math and science subjects. And girls, on average, stay in school through college and post-graduate programs longer than boys, but donai??i??t pursue math and science related industries, which are currently considered to be among the most lucrative. Problems are compounded in lower-income nations, where both women and men are presented with fewer educational and vocational options.
The study reveals that while there are more women in the workplace today than ever before, there are still key barriers keeping them from true equality. It has proven to be harder for women to find their first jobs than their male counterparts.
As women advance from one position to the next, inequalities in pay increase further up the corporate ladder. For example, a male and female clerk or sales representative will make approximately the same salary. But as a person moves up into managerial and executive roles, the discrepancies between salaries become more pronounced. The report says that the majority of women make 16% less than a comparable male employee, but that percentage increases to 21% for women in executive positions.
ai???Today, young women are leaving school with better qualifications than young men, but before they turn 30, they already earn 10% less,ai??? said Angel GurrAi??a, Secretary-General of the OECD. ai???Women are still less likely to work for pay, they tend to work less hours, they have lower hourly wages, and they are concentrated in less well-paid sectors. Women still face high barriers to advance into senior management.ai???
The study suggests that the reason women are making less money is because of the tension between work and home life. While the traditional gender roles have men making a living and women taking care of the family, these roles are no longer relevant to the modern workforce.Ai?? While intellectually, people are able to abandon these assumptions altogether, gender roles are subtly reinforced at home, school, and among friends.
The study suggests that the offering and usage of family-related benefits in the workplace is the best way to combat this pay inequality. By offering equal amounts of parental leave to both genders, the idea of taking time off after a child is born will be normalized and allow for family duties to be better shared between members of a household where both the husband and wife work. The study suggests that home and work life can only be balanced if both men and women take advantage of family-oriented benefits, like parental leave. When fully offered and utilized equally across genders, these benefits will be normalized, and companies will be a step closer to helping their employees balance their work and professional lives, something that the study suggests is a key idea between equalizing the pay between men and women.