Sunday 24 September 2017

Ireland revealed as one of the worst places for women to work in damning new report

Sean Duffy

Ireland is one the worst places for women to work in the developed world, according to a damning new report.

At the current pace of change it will take two decades to match the leading countries in terms of gender equality at work.

The latest Women in Work Index published by PwC ranks Ireland 25th out of 33 OECD countries when it comes to the position of women within organisations.

The authors of the report looked at a number of factors, including pay, the share of women in jobs and the numbers who are unemployed, and the share of females in full-time or part-time jobs.

On average, Irish women earn 15pc less than men each year, according to the report.

While the authors say Ireland has made positive strides since 2000, they reckon that at current rates of progress the country is only set to bridge the gender pay gap by 2032.

That's actually much faster than the likes of Spain and Germany, which are not expected to bridge the pay divide until 2230 and 2297 respectively.

The UK is forecast to do so by 2041, while the report states that it will be 2070 before the same outcome is achieved in the US.

France will take until 2084 to reach pay parity, while Mexico is not forecast to do the same until 2115.

Ireland has made significant progress on the issue of gender pay since 2000.

Back then, the country had a score of 43.9 in the "women in work index".

However, the latest data show that the figure rose to 52.7 by 2015.

Read more: Have you still got it? Irish tech firms looking for highly skilled women who wish to re-enter industry

Ireland lags behind the UK in terms of progress, however.

PwC notes that the UK has risen from 17th to 13th in the overall rankings since 2000.

Israel, Poland and Belgium have made the most progress since the turn of the century.

Austria, the Czech Republic, Portugal and the US were listed as countries where the gender pay gap had actually increased over the same period.

However, there are undoubtedly positive signs regarding female participation in the workplace in Ireland.

Data released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office show that female unemployment in Ireland is now running at 6.0pc, well below the rate of men who are without jobs.

The number of females employed in the Irish economy stood at 935,400 in December of 2016, which is a full 24,000 above the figure for the year before.

The PwC report states that overall pay differentials across the OECD stand at 16pc, just above the rate in Ireland.

Across the OECD, it is estimated that the average time it will take to bridge the gender pay gap is 95 years.

Countries with the highest pay gaps were found to be Korea (36pc), Japan (26pc) and Germany (22pc).

Poland (7pc), New Zealand (6pc) and Slovenia (6pc) were the countries were the difference between male and female pay was smallest.

Iceland was found to be the best country when it came to the treatment of women in the workforce, Sweden was second, while Norway was in third place.

"There is much more that businesses and governments could do to the address the causes of the pay gap, which are deep-rooted," according to Yong Jing Teow and Shivangi Jain, the co-authors of the report.

"Businesses can make flexible opportunities available, enabling their employees to manage their family commitments around work," they added.

Irish Independent

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