Study of 20 countries found pay inequality is lower where men and women worked in different occupations
Research has found women earn relatively more money when they choose careers which are not dominated by men.
A study by Warwick Business School, the University of Cambridge and Lakehead in Canada looked at 20 industralised countries, and found pay inequality was lower in places where men and women worked in different occupations.
The biggest inequality in pay was found to be in Japan, with Slovenia being the fairest to women. On average women actually earn slightly more than men in the latter.
Mexico, Brazil, Sweden and Hungary also saw average pay between men and women is almost equal. In these countries men and women work in different occupations to a greater extent than in many of the other countries looked at.
Women in the Czech Republic, Austria and Netherlands all fared badly in comparison to men as they are more likely to work in the same occupations as them. The gap between their pay and men’s is higher than average, with the UK’s gap also higher than average among the 20 countries.
Warwick Business School’s Dr Girts Racko attributes the surprising results to the fact that when there are few men in an occupation, women have more chance to get to the top and earn more. But where there are more equal numbers of men and women working in an occupation the men dominate the high-paying jobs.
‘Higher overall segregation tends to reduce male advantage and improve the position of women,’ said Dr Racko.
‘The greater the degree of overall segregation, the less the possibility exists for discrimination against women and so there is more scope for women to develop progressive careers.
‘For instance, within nursing men disproportionately fill the senior positions…but the fewer the number of male nurses, the more the senior positions must be filled by women.
‘Perhaps our most important finding is that, at least for these industrially developed countries, overall segregation and the vertical [pay gap] dimension are inversely related. The higher the overall segregation, the lower the advantage to men. This is directly contrary to popular assumptions.’