Women still being paid less than men, labour report says


A new report says more women are breaking through the glass ceiling into senior management positions, but they are still being paid significantly less than male managers. The International Labour Organisation has found that even in countries such as the US and Canada, where women managers have made most progress, they earn two-thirds of comparable male counterparts.

The report, Breaking through the Glass Ceiling: Women in Management, also says that while women have made substantial progress in closing the gender gap in managerial and professional jobs, half of the world's workers are in sex-stereotyped occupations.

These are occupations "wherein males or females predominate to such an extent - representing at least 80 per cent of all the workers - that the occupations themselves are considered `male' or `female'. Management is typically viewed as a male occupation."

Ireland comes 27th out of 137 countries surveyed by the organisation. It shows that the percentage of senior managers who are women has risen from 1 per cent in 1981 to 3 per cent at the start of the 1990s.

In the US, women who are equally qualified with male workers constitute 46 per cent of the managerial workforce. However, the average weekly earnings of female managers is only 68 per cent of the male rate. Women hold only 2.4 per cent of top management jobs and account for 1.9 per cent of the highest-paid officers and directors.

In other parts of the world, the disparities are greater. In Germany, for instance, women hold fewer than 3 per cent of top executive positions in the country's largest 70,000 companies. They hold 12 per cent of middle management posts and 6 per cent of senior management positions.

In Japan, women comprise 13 per cent of company directors, up from 9 per cent in 1970. Over the same period, the number of top posts in major corporation held by women rose from 1 per cent to 2 per cent.

France has gone against the general trend. In 1982, 15 per cent of senior executives in large companies were women, but by 1990 the figure had fallen to 13 per cent. The Netherlands has shown the greatest increase in women reaching top management positions in western Europe. In the early 1970s, they comprised 10 per cent of senior executives and in the early 1990s 18 per cent.

Women have made more progress in eastern Europe and some of the less-developed economies. In Hungary, for instance, women manage 25 per cent of enterprises, compared to 16 per cent in 1980. In Mexico, they comprise 19 per cent of senior managers in the public and private sectors.