Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Pay gap remains but Jamaica rises in global rankings

Published:Wednesday | November 2, 2016 | 11:00 AMSteven Jackson

Jamaica improved its pay equity ranking by 25 spots to 42 globally, based on reduced disparities between men and women in education and politics, despite a sustained income gap, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2016.

"Jamaica continues to improve on political empowerment, with an increased share of women in parliament," stated the report released by the non-aligned think tank, World Economic Forum.

The report lauded nine countries, including Bahamas, Barbados, Finland, France, Jamaica, Latvia, Lesotho, Nicaragua and the Philippines which have "fully closed the gap" on both the health and survival and educational attainment subindexes. However, no country has yet closed either the economic participation and opportunity or political empowerment subindex gaps.

Through the gender pay gap report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.

Iceland led the list of 144 countries analysed in the report with Yemen ranking at the bottom of the list. This year Jamaica's overall rank sits in the middle of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is led by Nicaragua at 10, Bolivia at 23 and Cuba at 27.

Women in Jamaica earn about 61 per cent of their male counterparts' pay. Specifically, the average annual pay for women in Jamaica totalled US$6,720 compared to US$11,044 earned by men, according to the report.

Historically, the disparity equated to 60.5 per cent last year and 60.25 per cent in 2014. Globally, only women in Luxembourg earn an estimated income of over approximately US$75,000, a benchmark for global prosperity, while their male counterparts earn some US$121,900 annually.

The pay gap report, now in its 11th edition, indicated that Jamaica's peak ranking of 25 among 115 countries occurred in 2006, then dipped to 52 in 2014 and slipped further to 67 last year, before regaining ground in the current report at 42.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com