What the Gender Pay Gap Looks like Around the World

March 21, 2018

Fawcett Society, a campaign group in the UK, described the gender pay gap in their country with an interesting analogy: in 2017, a woman making an average wage in the UK stopped being paid relative to their male counterpart after November 10th. In some parts of the UK, the pay gap is stark enough to assume that women work unpaid starting in September!


Although the reasons behind this pay gap are complex, and can be attributed to varying factors such education, discrimination, and motherhood penalty, it is still true that a woman cannot earn the same salary as a man for doing the exact same job in any part of the world. Other reasons for the pay gap include the fact that women are more likely than men to do unpaid work, and it is also more common for women to work in lower paying industries and have lower paying positions.


Photo: Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash 


The World Economic Forum (WEF) releases a Global Gender Gap Report every year, covering 144 countries across four key factors: health, education, economy, and politics. The WEF uses data from the International Labour Organization, the UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, and WEF’s own perceptions survey.


Iceland topped the list again, continuing its nine year streak, achieving 88% gender parity, and it was followed by Norway (83%) and Finland (82.3%). Others, like the US (71.8%) and the UK (77%) have yet to achieve gender parity, but they still receive higher scores on the report due to other factors, such as women in senior political positions.


According to the 2017 report, Pakistan and Yemen had the lowest gender parity rate, at 54.6% and 51.6% respectively. 73.7% of Yemen’s women attain education, but only 1.4% are politically empowered. The US, on the other hand, ranks first in educational attainment, but loses out on health and survival. Rwanda, on the other hand, has been steadily climbing, now at 4th position, and it has covered 82% of its gender gap.  


The WEF also points out that the advantage of achieving gender parity is the increase in GDP, adding billions of dollars to a country’s economy. According to the report, “the world as a whole could increase global GDP by $5.3 trillion by 2025 if it closed the gender [pay] gap by 25% over the same period.” However, the report also mentions that this was the first year that gender parity decreased since 2006, and at the current rate, the world will not achieve gender parity in 217 years.



My name is Pankhuri Kumar. I'm a 23-year old graduate student, majoring in Journalism and Computer Science. I'm a nerd about technology and hope to make the world a more informed place with data. I'm obsessed with Indian food, The Office, and Harry Potter.


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