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Northern Ireland’s Pay Gap Lowest in the UK

Northern Ireland has drastically lowered the gender pay gap from 22 percent to 6 percent within the last 17 years, according to the PwC Women in Work Index.

While there are many factors that contributed to the growing equality between genders, one reason is that more women are working in public administration. The career field generally offers higher pay and a lower wage disparity between men and women. Job openings in the Northern Ireland public sector are more prevalent than in other regions of the United Kingdom.

However, the study also reported that between 2015 and 2016, the entire United Kingdom fell from 14th to 15th place in a ranking out of 33 OECD countries. These wage gaps could be attributed to outright discrimination where men are paid more just because they’re male and because women tend to reduce their working hours after motherhood.

The basis of the report consisted of gender pay gaps, female labor participation, female unemployment, and the female full-time employment rate.

Nordic countries Iceland, Sweden, and Norway took the top three spots when providing opportunities for women’s empowerment in the workplace and having a low wage gap between men and women.

In many cases in Northern Ireland, women actually earn more than men. The conundrum of female employees in Northern Ireland earning more than their male counterparts has led to a discussion on the reverse wage gap. The gap in Northern Ireland is in favor of women and though the gaps throughout the rest of the UK favor men, the goal of equality isn’t about women surpassing men. It’s about giving credit where credit is due. If men and women do the same job, they should be paid the same.

“It’s positive news that women in the UK have benefitted from the improving economy and there are now more women in work than ever before, but we still have a way to go,” said Yong Jing Teow, a PwC economist. “It’s not just about getting more women working, but also about getting more of them into high quality jobs that offer career progression and flexibility.”

PwC’s report suggested several ways to lower the gap in the UK. Focusing on enhancing social support to families so women can continue working and promoting female entrepreneurship is one of their suggestions. Another is simply to provide women with more opportunities to succeed – an essential part of the movement to close wage gaps.

Featured Image by Sylvain Naudin on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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