Women Should Leave Work At 4:21pm. Here’s Why!
On average, women in Malaysia get paid 79 sen to a ringgit earned by men.
This is based on the average gender pay gap published in the Salary and Wages Survey Report 2016 released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia. But is gender wage gap a myth or does it really exist?
Not only is the pay gap real, there is even a mismatched perception of the gender pay gap! According to Hays, a recruitment agency, 79% of men think there is equal pay between genders compared to 66% of women.
If you are a female, you may be “pissed off” with that stat, but you shouldn’t be surprised. Gender wage gap doesn’t just happen in Malaysia, it is prevalent around the world.
When we break down the gender gap in income according to occupation, we found that skilled agricultural, forestry, livestock and fishery workers have the highest wage gap at 31%. Using the average pay per hour of a male, we found that these female workers are only paid up to 3:36pm daily!
Assuming that they work a 9-to-6 job with an hour for lunch, these female workers have been working two hours and 26 minutes for free every day!
However, surprisingly, unlike developed countries like the US, the gender pay gap narrows down as one climbs up the career ladder. The pay gap for managers in Malaysia is only 12%, but it almost doubles for professionals at 23%.
There are many underlying reasons to why females are paid lower than males around the world, Malaysia included. However, it’s undeniable that female participation in the workforce brings benefits to a country’s economy.
When the Female Labour Participation Rate (FLPR) in Malaysia climbed to 54.1% in 2015 from 46.8% in 2010, it was estimated to have contributed an additional 0.3 percentage points to GDP growth per annum.
However, to attract more women to join and rejoin the workforce, the gender wage gap needs to be addressed.
Here are how different stakeholders can combat gender wage gap in Malaysia:
1) Employers or companies
Employers can address this phenomenon by determining their employee’s salary based on the market value for his or her skills, experience and location, instead of current wages, which could be influenced by past biases or inequities.
2) The government
Putrajaya can draw up new legislation and amend existing laws to protect women from discrimination in the workforce.
According to the women, family and community development minister, Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, the government is working to introduce a Gender Equality Act to deal with discrimination against women at workplace, and also looking to amend other existing laws such as the Employment Act, the Pensions Act, the Penal Code, and the Domestic Violence Act to accommodate the proposed gender equality law.
3) Men in the workforce
According to Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia, progress towards workplace gender equality is hindered by the lack of people, more often than not men, who fail to see any problem.
With 70% of decision-making roles in the corporate sector in Malaysia held by men, it will be difficult to accelerate gender parity when many of those in positions of influence do not see any inequality to begin with.
Men should be more aware of the issue and proactively do more to close the pay gap.
4) Women in the workforce, or looking to join the workforce
It’s as simple as, asking for the same salary as men in the same role. Offers increase with expectation, and if your expected salary is on par with your male counterparts, the offers would tend to be in line with what you are asking for.
So, know your worth in the interview and job hunting process and command a salary on par with men.
In the meantime, perhaps we can tell our bosses that we are clocking out from work at 4:21pm today!