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How the gender pay gap in Ireland rates globally



In Ireland, the issue of the gender pay gap has been at the forefront of conversation for some time now. In the last 20 years, the topic has been consistently debated in the media and in the public sphere.

From the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to more recent revelations about the gender pay gap in our national broadcaster RTÉ, the topic has rarely left our consciousness.

In fact, over the next few weeks the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton is expected to bring the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill to Cabinet.

Under this bill firms employing more than 250 workers could have to publish details of any gender pay gap by the end of this year or face sanctions if they fail to do so.

It’s clear that the conversation has begun but we still have a long way to go. EU figures show that in Ireland, women currently earn around 13.9% less than men. Where does that leave us on a global scale? We decided to find out.


Careers marketplace Jobbio has done extensive research into the gender pay gap in both the UK and the US through their #ShatterTheGlass initiative.

They researched a number of different high-level roles including CFO, Marketing Manager, Software Engineer, Web Developer, Content Creator, Customer Experience Manager and Graphic Designer. On all but two occasions men were paid more – sometimes significantly more – than their female counterparts.

This research echoes the findings of the UK’s Office for National Statistics. According to their data women currently earn 18.4% less than men.



Men in France are on average paid 9% more than women. This is despite the fact that the law has required equal pay for equal work for the past 45 years.

In an effort to crack down on unequal pay Prime Minister Edouard Philippe introduced a new labour plan whereby French companies will have three years to rectify their gender pay gaps or face possible fines.

Companies with more than 50 employees will be required to install special software hooked up directly to their payroll systems to monitor unjustified pay gaps under the plans.


One country that is leading the way for pay equality is Iceland. The small island has a long history of protesting for labour rights. In 1975, 1985, 2005, 2010 and 2016 Icelandic women famously left work the minute they technically stopped getting paid to protest income inequality.

While Iceland has had equal pay laws in place since 1961, The Equal Pay Standard, passed in January 2018, made it the first country to criminalise unequal pay. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked Iceland as the top country for gender equality for the last nine years based on criteria involving economics, education, health, and politics.

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In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the US.

One way American states are fighting back against the gap is to introduce laws and regulations. For example in California, Massachusetts, New York City and Puerto Rico employers are banned from asking job applicants about their current salary.


You may be surprised to hear that Canada has a rather large gender pay gap. According to the most recent Statistics Canada data the gap currently sits at 26%. To put that into perspective that means that for every $1 earned by a male worker, his female colleague only earns 74 cents.

Despite this, Canada’s pay gap is slowly closing over time. When the Pay Equity Act passed in 1987 the gender pay gap was a whopping 36%. Hopefully, this trend will continue.


The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) estimates Australian women earn, on average, 15.3% less than men. This gap has remained largely unchanged in the last 20 years despite avid campaigning.

In Australia, the principle of "equal pay for equal work" was introduced in 1969 while anti-discrimination on the basis of sex was legislated in 1984. According to the WGEA, men still earn more than women by an average of $26,527 per year in every industry and occupation.




A survey conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2017 found that there was a large wage disparity in India. The survey highlighted that men earn more than women in similar roles. This gap was often a staggering 30%.

The country passed the Equal Remuneration Act in 1976. This act provides women with a right to demand equal pay and challenge any inequality they see in recruitment processes, job training or promotions.

It’s important to note that a very small percentage of women work outside the home in India. According to the ILO, India ranks 121 out of 131 for female labour participation.


China may have a booming economy, but it still has a huge wage equality problem. China’s major hiring website Zhaopin Limited surveyed over 100,000 employees earlier this year. The study found that women on average earn 22% less than their male counterparts.

While this number might seem high it has actually dropped 30% since last year. The gender pay gap is relatively small at entry-level positions, however, the higher up the career ladder workers go, the more pronounced it becomes.


Brazilian women earn a massive 23% less than their male colleagues. The World Economic Forum ranks Brazil 119 in a list of countries for wage equality in similar work.

The gender pay gap in Brazil is especially noticeable for workers with higher levels of education. Data from the Labor Ministry shows that 60% of employees with a university degree are women. However, their employers paid them 36% less than men with the same level of education.

South Africa

The 2017 ‘’A Pulse of the People’’ report run by market research firm Ipsos found that, on average, women in South Africa earned 27% less than men.

 The report, which surveyed more than 3,500 employed South Africans across various occupations and regions, found that this gap was even wider among top earners, with men earning as much as 39% more than women at a similar level.

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