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Gender equality in wage
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 06 - 2017


Okaz
TODAY we are discussing an important issue, which has no middle solution. It's about equality of Saudi men and women in rights, duties, benefits and punishments.
If she was allowed to drive a car, she would not be asked to pay half of the ticket for an offense like jumping the red light, instead she has to pay the fine in full.
The same principle of equality is not applied while paying wages to Saudi men and women.
Saudi woman deserves full citizenship with undiminished rights. According to a study conducted by King Khalid Foundation and published in local newspapers last Monday, the wage gap between men and women in the Saudi labor market tripled during the last two years, reaching 332 percent.
The difference between salaries of men and women was SR324 in favor of men in 2014 but it went up to SR1,077 in 2016. The average wage of Saudi man is SR10,656 while that of a Saudi woman is SR9,579. The rate of women's economic participation is 22.8 percent against 79.5 percent by men.
Now the question is why there is inequality and disparity in wages of men and women, despite their similarity in qualifications and nature of work as well as in efficiency, productivity and the ability to meet the requirements of work.
I had thought that there would not be any wage discrimination in the public sector as its employees – irrespective of their gender — have similar qualifications, skills and training experience. They have also the same ability to accomplish tasks and they work in similar circumstances.
This sector generally applies the same rules on all workers regardless efficiency, qualifications and experience. Both male and female employees are entitled to promotions and incentives. But recent press reports indicate wage disparities between women and men, especially in administrative jobs.
At the beginning of employment, men and women are given equal wages, but men receive faster promotions than women who do the same job and have the same qualifications.
According to one report, some female employees worked 20 years without promotion.
This discrimination is quite clear among male and female workers in some private institutions mainly because of the lack of a unified salary and administrative system.
On the other hand, Western countries have adopted a law that imposes wage equality between women and men 30 years ago. Even so Western countries still face wage disparity in favor of men. At the same time, official agencies are keen to produce periodic reports and statistics year after year to show the magnitude of the problem and the progress made in solving it.
The issue of gender equality in the financial world is not only an ethical and social issue but also an economic one. It has been considered as a global challenge as it is vital to promote economic growth, in terms of increasing the purchasing power and GDP.
A report by the McKinsey Global Institute has found that women's equality with men in the labor market could add about $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025. Gender equality in the labor market in the Arab region would add about $2.7 trillion to the total GDP by 2025.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Ministry of Civil Service should take full responsibility in finding urgent solutions and adopting necessary legislative and practical measures to end the wage disparity between male and female employees in the Kingdom.


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