A common argument for why the gender pay gap exists is that women tend to work in lower-paid occupations, but New Zealand research has found that even when contributions to their employers are the same, women are paid on average 84 cents for every $1 men receive.
Researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy looked at a decade’s worth of wage and productivity data, and found though women were more likely to work in low-paying industries such as food and beverage services, this only accounted for 7 per cent of the pay gap.
Writing on The Conversation, lead researcher Dr Isabelle Sin said women and men working in the same industry were statistically indistinguishable in how much value they added to their firms, but there was still a 16 per cent wage gap. This gap increased with age, with no evidence for a gap in young men and women, but increasing to 21 per cent for those aged 40-54 and 49 per cent for older women.
The researchers found no evidence for differences in bargaining being behind the gap, arguing that the productivity-wage gap would be higher in industries and during times when the labour market is tight and companies have more difficulty in hiring. Instead, they found the wage gap was high when workers were highly skilled and firms faced low competition, which the researchers suggest means sexism was at play, with preferential recruitment of men and lower offers for equally qualified women.
The research was covered by local and international media, including:
Radio NZ: Sexism pure & simple, blamed for gender pay gap
TVNZ: ‘It’s not OK’ – New research finds pure sexism main contributor to gender wage gap
NZ Herald: Sexism driving gender pay gap – study
Stuff.co.nz: Report says women paid less even when as productive
Newstalk ZB: Women not at fault for pay gap – study
The Conversation: Women paid less for same contribution to work, and sexism is to blame – study
The Spinoff: The new evidence that proves, beyond a doubt, the NZ gender pay gap is real
Vice: Surprise! New Study Finds the NZ Pay Gap Mostly Caused By Sexism
Newshub: Gender pay gap continues to persist
Radio Live: Gender pay gap exists and its down to pure sexism
Wanganui Chronicle: Editorial: Million-dollar gender pay gap
Buzzfeed News: The Gender Wage Gap Is Due To Sexism, Not Low Paying Industries, Researchers Say
Daily Telegraph (Australia): The gender pay gap is real. Here’s proof