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Boom and bust

Thessa Lageman
Journalist, Writer, Photographer
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piqer: Thessa Lageman
Monday, 12 March 2018

Can Men Help Close The Gender Pay Gap?

How Do You Close The Gender Pay Gap? is the central question in this edition of BBC's The Inquiry, one of my favourite podcasts, which brings together four expert witnesses every week to talk about a topic from the news in a clear way.

Women earn less than men in every country in the world. Globally, women earn approximately 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. While some progress has been made, it's frustratingly slow, the first expert explains. At the current rate of change, women will have to wait 217 years to close the gender gap.

Efforts to close it sooner involve encouraging companies to increase pay transparency and punishing those who don't cooperate. In Iceland, the world's toughest law to tackle the gender pay gap came into effect this year. If a company doesn't meet the standard, they are fined about 10,000 US dollars a month.

One of the primary reasons for the gender pay gap is the so-called 'motherhood penalty' — many women quit their jobs when they have a baby, and when they return to work they can only find jobs with low salaries.

Improving paternity packages is therefore widely considered one of the most effective ways to narrow the gender pay gap. Parents in Japan, for example, can take three years of leave. However, very few Japanese men have been taking childcare leave. Like in many other countries, Japanese girls are still taught to become good mothers, while boys are taught to become the breadwinners. So gender stereotypes need to change too.

"The gender pay battle can only be won with the help of men," explains the last expert witness, economist Claudia Goldin from Harvard University.

The main part of the difference today is because women demand more time flexibility, fewer 24/7 demands on them by the workplace because they have more 24/7 demands in the home. 
The more men who say that they don't want to be called on weekends or want to be able to leave at 6 pm, the better life will be for women.

Can Men Help Close The Gender Pay Gap?
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