Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Make data on pay more transparent, say women business owners

Published:Friday | December 18, 2015 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson

The Government and private-sector employers need to make pay data more transparent in order to get women on par with their male counterparts, according to the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and its member, Women Business Owners Jamaica Limited (WBO).

The call comes in the wake of the findings of the Global Gender Gap Report 2015, an annual publication by the European-based World Economic Forum, that Jamaican women earn 60 per cent of their male counterparts' salary, which contributed to the country's worsening in the rankings from 52nd to 65th.

For every $100 made by a man in Jamaica, a woman earns around $60 on average, according to the study. WBO said that gap derogates from the fundamental right to equal pay for equal work.

"WBO calls upon the Government of Jamaica and private-sector employers to ensure data relating to this subject become more transparent, gender sensitive and available. WBO also urges the tertiary institutions to develop more research and scholarship in this area," according to a joint statement issued by that organisation and the PSOJ.

"Finally, the connection between women's economic empowerment and the quality of life for the nation must become more central to the discussions and policies adopted for economic growth," the statement said.

Members of WBO are employers in various sectors of the economy, including technology, finance and manufacturing and according to the business owners, their aim is to close this gap "in our lifetime".

Data provided in the gender gap report show that the average annual pay for women in Jamaica totalled US$6,730 (J$800,880), or 60.58 per cent of the US$11,109 ($1.3 million) earned by men.

In the 2014 report, Jamaican women were said to earn on average US$6,468, or about 60.25 per cent of the average US$10,735 earned by men. The pay-gap report, now in its 10th edition, stated that Jamaica worsened from its peak ranking of 25 among 115 countries in 2006, dipping to 52 in 2014, before free-falling this year.

In spite of the pay gap, Jamaica scored the best in the world in the subrank index of females enrolled in tertiary education.

The World Economic Forum, described as a non-aligned independent group, was established in 1971 as a non-profit foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com