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Confronting the Gender Pay Gap Globally

Despite significant progress for gender equality, one issue continues to persist on a global scale—the gender pay gap. The concept of equal pay for equal work has long been recognized as a basic human right, yet the reality is far from ideal. The World Economic Forum Global Gender Report, at the current rate of progress, it will take another 135.6 years to achieve true gender pay parity.


The gender pay gap is exacerbated by occupational segregation, as highlighted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. This phenomenon involves women being disproportionately concentrated in specific job sectors, often in lower-paid service positions. Female-dominated fields like healthcare and education frequently offer lower average salaries compared to male-dominated industries such as technology and finance. Globally, the gender pay gap is estimated at around 16%, meaning that, on average, women earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by men. Furthermore, the lack of transparency in compensation practices within organizations perpetuates this pay gap, making it challenging for employees to identify and address disparities. While countries worldwide are increasingly embracing legislation for robust and rigorously enforced equal pay laws, a crucial component in narrowing the gap lies in fostering collaboration from the private sector.


Transparency in compensation practices stands as a crucial tool for bridging the gender pay gap. Within the framework of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreements, a strategic approach involves embedding provisions that force private sector partners to disclose their compensation structures and gender pay data. This transparency serves as a significant catalyst for unveiling disparities and driving focused efforts to close the gender pay gap. The case of Brazil serves as an example, grappling with a significant gender pay gap of 21%, as reported by the Inter-Trade Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIESSE). This gap is particularly highlighted in sectors where women constitute the majority of the workforce. In response, Brazil has recently enacted legislation aimed at achieving pay equity, mandating the introduction of diversity and inclusion programs, enforcing transparent reporting of pay criteria in larger companies, and imposing penalties for non-compliance.

Bridging the gender pay gap requires more than government actions alone. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) play a crucial role in this effort. Businesses must actively engage by adopting transparent reporting practices and addressing pay disparities. Real progress also involves the commitment of both employers and employees. Workers need to advocate for equal pay and fairness, while businesses collaborate with governments, civil society organizations, and empowered workers to achieve true gender pay parity.


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