Women still paid less in modern society


Many women in South African companies are still paid less than what men are. In some cases they are just as educated as those men. This according to professor of human resources management at the University of Johannesburg, Anita Bosch.
A South African woman needs to work two months more than a man to earn an equivalent salary he would earn in a year. The South African gender pay gap is estimated, on average, to be between 15% and 17%.
The Women in the Workplace research programme conducted at the University of Johannesburg set out to answer these and other gender pay-related questions.
According to the report there are various reasons that play a role in the gender gap.
Many companies still think women are not as committed to their jobs as men because they have family commitments. They would not spend as much time on training women than on men. Managers are also keen to cut on budgets. Where men will negotiate, women would accept entry level salaries that relatively are lower than that of men.
Anita Bosch told Courant that there are many households in modern society that are headed by women. Thus employers are benefiting unduly from a historic system of undervaluing women's skills and workplace contributions.
"Our government should pay greater attention to this. Steps have been taken in South Africa to remedy the situation. The Employment Equity Act sets out the principle of equal pay for equal value. It all starts with the identification of a comparator, a person in a job that you think is the same as yours, substantially the same as yours, or a job that is adding the same value to the company as yours," says Bosch.
Although it remains difficult and highly technical to prove pay discrimination, it is heartening that a proper legal framework exists. But the interpretation of equal value in pay is sticky and uncovering gender pay differences in the same type of job that provides the same value for an employer is quite complex.
Bosch concluded that the burden rests on human resource management practitioners to uncover potential cases of pay inequity and to address these with innovative remedies.
"The reality is that we are dealing with market forces, stereotypes and sexism. I think people need to step up. We have legislation in place to protect people from exploitation. The equal pay equal value clause goes to all types of diversity cases. It's a global struggle, not only a struggle in South Africa."
mark@centralmediagroup.co.za – Mark Steenbok