Gender Differences in Earnings (Gender Wage Gap)
The OECD (reference below) defines the gender wage gap as the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to median earnings of men, where data refer to full-time employees and to self-employed.
Gender wage gap in OECD countries
The chart below is for 2015 and lists Canada’s gender wage gap as 18.6 percent, slightly lower than that of the United States (18.9 percent) and substantially higher than that in Belgium (3.3 percent).
Reasons for the gap
A comprehensive review of the variables contributing to the gender wage gap can be found in:
Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn (2016), The Gender Wage Gap – Extent, Trends, and Expectations, NBER Working Paper No. 21913. The abstract is available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w21913 and a version is available online as IZA DP No. 9656 at http://ftp.iza.org/dp9656.pdf, accessed 14 November 2016.
An interview with Harvard economist, Claudia Goldin, who has devoted much of her career to studying the gender wage gap, can be found at:
Steven J. Dubner (2016), The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap, Interview with Harvard economist, Claudia Goldin, by Steven Dubner at Freakonomics Radio, text and 45-minute podcast at http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/, accessed 1 November 2016.
Goldin notes that gender differences in work/family choices contribute to the gap. Articles that address these differences include:
Sarah Ketterer (2015), The ‘Wage Gap’ Myth That Won’t Die, Wall Street Journal, 30 September, at http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-wage-gap-myth-that-wont-die-1443654408, accessed 1 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2014), The gender wage gap is a myth, Factual Feminist, 6 February 2014, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyFjPHwF6To, accessed 5 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2014), The real reason there aren’t more female scientists, Factual Feminist, 30 June 2014, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-6usiN4uoA, accessed 5 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2014), Is there systematic wage discrimination against women?, Factual Feminist, 14 July 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrbS537nnso&list=PLytTJqkSQqtr7BqC1Jf4nv3g2yDfu7Xmd&index=38, accessed 5 November 2016.
Sally Satel (2015), Gender activists dismayed by this new reason for the wage gap, Factual Feminist, 9 February 2015, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjwGt-buc0c, accessed 5 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2015), The Gender Gap: What the World Economic Forum got wrong, 22 December 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGI2YggNJCc&list=PLytTJqkSQqtr7BqC1Jf4nv3g2yDfu7Xmd&index=6, accessed 5 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2015), Do men need to check their privilege? 18 November 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRsYwu8uD4I&index=7&list=PLytTJqkSQqtr7BqC1Jf4nv3g2yDfu7Xmd, accessed 5 November 2016.
Kay Hymowitz (2013), Generous Work/Family Policies Don’t Guarantee Equality, Family Studies, at http://family-studies.org/generous-workfamily-policies/, accessed 2 November 2016.
Margaret Wente (2013), Do women really have it better in Sweden? Globe and Mail, 22 November 2013, at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/do-women-really-have-it-better-in-sweden/article15552596/, accessed 2 November 2016.
Christina Hoff Sommers (2013), What ‘Lean In’ Misunderstands About Gender Differences, The Atlantic 19 March 2013, at http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/03/what-lean-in-misunderstands-about-gender-differences/274138/, accessed 2 November 2016.
Derek Thompson (2013), The Biggest Myth About the Gender Wage Gap, The Atlantic, 30 May 2013, at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/the-biggest-myth-about-the-gender-wage-gap/276367/, accessed 1 November 2016.
Articles responding to these arguments include:
Catherine Pearson (2016), No, The Gender Pay Gap Isn’t A Myth – And Here’s Why, Huffington Post, 12 April, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-the-gender-pay-gap-isnt-a-myth-and-heres-why_us_5703cb8de4b0a06d5806e03f, accessed 1 November 2016.
Sasha Gronsdahl (2016), An Unequal Playing Field – Ontario’s Gender Wage Gap, Explained, Public Policy and Governance Review, 7 November 2016, at https://ppgreview.ca/2016/11/07/an-unequal-paying-field-ontarios-gender-wage-gap-explained/, accessed 7 November 2016.
Catalyst (2013), Canada’s “Best and Brightest” Women Face Gaps in Pay, Opportunity, New Catalyst Report Finds, at http://www.catalyst.org/media/canadas-best-and-brightest-women-face-gaps-pay-opportunity-new-catalyst-report-finds, accessed 7 November 2016.
Articles addressing the role of ideology in gender gap analysis include:
Charlotta Stern (2016), Does political ideology hinder insights on gender and labor markets?, RATIO Working Paper No. 275, at http://ratio.se/publikationer/working-paper-no-275-does-political-ideology-hinder-insights-on-gender-and-labor-markets/, accessed 14 November 2016.
Charlotta Stern (2016), Undoing Insularity – A Small Study of Gender Sociology’s Big Problem, Econ Journal Watch, at https://econjwatch.org/articles/undoing-insularity-a-small-study-of-gender-sociology-s-big-problem, accessed 14 November 2016.
Recent Ontario government studies and publications
Government of Ontario (2016), Final Report and Recommendations of the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee, June 2016, at https://files.ontario.ca/7198_mol_gwg_finalreport_eng_wa_08f_v2_1.pdf, accessed 1 November 2016.
Pages 16 and 17 of the report are reproduced below:
Relevant Ontario laws and institutions
Appendix 5 of the above report lists the relevant Ontario laws as follows (direct quotations):
Equal pay for equal work: Under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) “equal pay for equal work” is a provision that requires women and men to receive equal pay when they do the same or substantially the same job in the same establishment. “Substantially the same work” can be described as work that involves about the same levels of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour page on Equal Pay for Equal Work can be found at https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/equalpay.php.
Pay Equity Act: Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal value. The purpose of Ontario’s Pay Equity Act is to redress systemic gender discrimination in pay. The law requires employers to value and compare jobs usually done by women (female jobs classes) to jobs usually done by men (male job classes) based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Where the jobs are of equal or comparable value, they must be paid the same.
The Ontario Pay Equity Commission website is at http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/EN/Pages/default.aspx.
Human rights in Ontario: Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the “Code”) prohibits actions that discriminate against a person based on a protected ground in a protected social area. The protected grounds include family or marital status, gender, gender identity, sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding), sexual orientation, disability, race, ancestry, citizenship and age. Protected social areas include employment and contracts.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission website is at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en.
Ontario Equal Pay Coalition at http://equalpaycoalition.org/.
Ontario Federation of Labour, A Worker’s Agenda for Pay Equity, at http://ofl.ca/index.php/tag/ontario-equal-pay-coalition/.
Atlas topic, subject, and course
OECD (2016), Gender wage gap, at https://data.oecd.org/earnwage/gender-wage-gap.htm, accessed 1 November 2016.
OECD Data (2016), Gender wage gap, at https://data.oecd.org/earnwage/gender-wage-gap.htm, accessed 2 November 2016.
Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 14 November 2016.
Image: Duff McCutcheon, We Need To Do More To Address The Gender Wage Gap, at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/duff-mccutcheon/gender-wage-gap_b_9704380.html, accessed 1 November 2016.