Wage parity stagnates in the OECD, women suffer a “maternity penalty”

At this rate, it will take 50 years to reach parity, estimates the cabinet. Progress towards equal pay for men and women in OECD countries has been “excessively weak” over the past ten years, according to a study by PriceWaterhouseCooper. Investigation “Women at Work” (Women in Work Index) notably displays a persistent wage gap of 14%, which has only fallen by 2.5 percentage points since 2011, details PwC in a press release published on Tuesday March 7.

Especially since the improvements “over the past year has been driven more by the post-covid recovery in the labor market than by genuine progress”says PwC.

The consulting firm estimates that a “maternity penalty”or a loss of earnings over the life of women raising children, is the main factor explaining this wage gap.

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It is due to a slower career progression when they return to work after giving birth, and to the share “unfairly low in the care and upbringing of children taken by fathers” worldwide.

The issue of childcare costs

The study focuses in particular on the United Kingdom, speaking of a “crisis of childcare that has become unaffordable and of a small proportion of men who take parental leave”forcing “a growing proportion of women no longer work”. “Affordable cost of childcare is key to easing pressures on mothers and families and reducing women’s unpaid work burden”.

“Rethinking parental leave policies to support a ‘two salaries, two careers’ model would help shift societal attitudes” on the role of fathers and mothers and would economically benefit society as a whole, insists PwC.

Within the OECD countries, the United Kingdom fell five places in the PwC index on equal pay between women and men, falling from 9th in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, to 14th place a year later, the last year of data available. Despite everything, the country remains at the top of the G7 countries, ahead of Canada (18th place), the United States (25), France (23), Germany (21), Japan (28) and Italy. (30).

Luxembourg, New Zealand and Slovenia are in the top three places of the index, with the strongest advance marked by Hungary, now 13th, and the strongest fall by Switzerland (20th).

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The World with AFP

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