Gender Pay Gap in China Shrinks for the First Time in 3 Years!

The average monthly salary for women in urban China reached RMB 6,995 ($1,005) in 2019, up 7.7% year-on-year. Though women continue to earn only 81.6% of men's salary, this marks the first time in three years that the gender pay gap has shrunk, confirmed by a report released by a recruitment platform on Thursday.

With more women choosing to study majors such as science, technology, engineering and math, more female graduates have found jobs with higher pay. However, more than 70% of employees holding the top 15 best-paid technical positions were still men.

As per the report, the wage gap between men and women heavily depended on occupation, industry and years of work experience. For instance, men were more involved in positions related to technology, sales and engineering, while women held positions in administration, operations and marketing, which are more stable, but not as well paid.

The report suggested that women with an additional year of education were able to increase their salary by 5.1%, up 0.5 percentage points when compared to men. However, men with low educational backgrounds can still have access to well-paid jobs in manufacturing engineering, mining and smelting, while such choices for less-educated women are still limited.

Additionally, the gap between salary of women and men with 15 years of experience reached 36.4%, mainly affected by marriage and fertility. But with the increasing participation and contribution of women in the workplace, the tides seem to be shifting - slowly.

In 2019, 25.4 percent of executive-level positions in Chinese enterprises were taken by women, up 0.4 percentage points from the 2018 level. Notably, 51.8 percent of human resources executives were women, 1.1 percentage points higher than a year ago.

Women's participation in core businesses such as those concerning technologies, products and sales has improved as well. For instance, the share of women executives in charge of sales has gone up by 0.44 percentage points.

The World Bank released another report ahead of International Women's Day stating that in the last 20 years, the inequality in salary has shown gradual improvement, although it may take another 150 years to eliminate this gap entirely.

According to the report, closing this gap would bring in US$ 172 trillion in dividends. And if womens salary were to equal that of mens, human capital wealth could increase by 20% worldwide.

Caren Grown, Senior Director of Gender Global Practice at the World Bank, said the report builds on past research highlighting the cost of the gender earnings gap, which holds countries back from achieving their full potential.

"Improving women's lifetime earning opportunities can be achieved by taking actions that redistribute and balance caring responsibilities, creating a pipeline of talent by closing the gender gap in employment and entrepreneurship, and tackling discriminatory laws and restrictive social norms that hold our girls and women back," she said.

That being said, lets celebrate the small wins and continue working together towards achieving fully equal opportunities for women across the world.

Happy International Womens Day!

Source: xinhua

Editor: Crystal H