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Women in manufacturing face fourth largest pay gap

8 March, 2012A new report from ITUC reveals that the average gender pay gap of 18 per cent remains unchanged for 10 years, with women workers in manufacturing facing, on average, the fourth largest gender pay gap.

GLOBAL: A new report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reveals that worldwide, women are paid 18 per cent on average less than their male counterparts at work. The report also found that women workers in manufacturing have on average the fourth largest gender pay gap, combined with a rather low relative wage level (10th of 15

The report, "Frozen in time: Gender pay gap unchanged for 10 years" released on the eve of International Women's Day, looks at women's wages in 43 countries, twice the number of previous studies.

"For the last decade we have seen women's wages hitting a road block. The pay gap remains frozen in time almost everywhere. Asia is the continent with the greatest wage differential between men and women with no progress made to close the gap for over a decade," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

For the first time, researchers have ranked industries internationally by analysing the differences in wages in 15 sectors in 15 countries across four continents from construction to domestic workers.

"More unionized sectors such as the public sector tend to have lower pay gaps. Those with low unionization rates and low wage levels, such as retail, hotels and restaurants as well as agriculture tend to have higher gaps. Part of the problem is that many workers are not paid a decent minimum wage," said Sharan Burrow.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Jyrki Raina, IMF General Secretary said, "One of the main reasons we argue for improved representation of women in trade union structures is to ensure that unions in address issues that women face in the workplace, such as the gender pay gap. The results of this study clearly show that trade unions in the manufacturing sectors must look more closely at this issue and address this differential through our collective bargaining strategies."

The report is the third study into the gender wage gap by the ITUC, following up on studies in 2008 and 2009. The report 'Frozen in Time: Gender pay gap unchanged for 10 years" can be read here:  http://www.ituc-csi.org/frozen-in-time-gender-pay-gap.html