Women and men to reach pay equality in 257 years: report

Men and women will have pay equality in 257 years, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum.

The estimate is 55 more years than the estimates from past reports. This year’s report found a two per cent increase in the number of women in senior roles, but noted that women’s participation in the labour market continues to stall while financial disparities grow.

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“Supporting gender parity is critical to ensuring strong, cohesive and resilient societies around the world,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in a release. “For business, too, diversity will be an essential element to demonstrate that stakeholder capitalism is the guiding principle. This is why the World Economic Forum is working with business and government stakeholders to accelerate efforts to close the gender gap.”

The report noted only 55 per cent of adult women are in the labour market, compared to 78 per cent of men. More than 40 per cent of the wage gap and 50 per cent of the income gap still needs to be closed, it added. Globally, women’s average annual income is $11,500 compared to $21,500 for a man.

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Many factors contribute to the disparity in earnings and career opportunities, the report said, including women choosing lower-paid occupations, facing the so-called motherhood penalty, working part time, doing most of the childcare and household chores, as well as facing discrimination and bias.

To tackle the economic gender gap, leaders need to do more to equip women for the professions of the future through up-skilling and re-skilling, as well as creating inclusive work cultures and diversifying hiring, noted the report.