As much as many countries around the world have been working towards elimination of gender pay discrimination, there are still a number of countries lagging further behind than others. In Ukraine in the past year, data has been compiled and has shown that the country has a serious gender pay gap where women are paid an average of approximately 32% less than men. This rate varies quite a bit across different regions and industries within the country; however, there is a noticeable gender pay gap across the nation as a whole.
The largest discrepancy observed is in the finance and insurance sectors where a gap of nearly 40% exists between women and men in the workplace. This pay gap may be advantageous for women at the start, especially if organizations wish to be cost conscious, thereby hiring for positions considered ‘female’. However, just because women may be hired at a higher frequency than men for these roles, the practice should still be considered unfair and discontinued.
This also brings into question how jobs in Ukraine are categorized. It is clear that some roles are considered to be female, while others are considered male, but (for the most part) there is no absolute rule stating that only females or only males may be considered for any particular job. There is an exception where ‘extremely dangerous work in harmful conditions’ has a labor law statute preventing women from working in these sectors or conditions. Beyond that law and beyond the stereotyping of male and female job roles, there are no strict regulations as to who can work within an organization based on the job title. Additionally, it must be noted that preventing women from working in more dangerous situations also inhibits them from working in some of the highest paying jobs within the nation.
Furthermore, in Ukraine, it is permissible for only women to take a leave of absence when caring for young children (maternity leave and parental leave). Men are not even given the opportunity to take such protected leave from work even if they wanted to. Due to the fact that women must be responsible for the caring of a household, they are also more likely to take on part time jobs that are less demanding and more flexible – which again, are generally the lowest paid categories of jobs in the workforce.
This struggle to achieve gender pay equality in Ukraine initiates a long spoken debate for equal pay for equal work. Many countries are working towards creating models where wages are based solely on regional rates and specific roles or tiers of roles in order to make the entire employment process fairer for both men and women. For example, in the last year, Iceland became the first country to make it illegal to have any type of gender based wage gap between employees in equal roles who perform equal work and have equal experience and credentials. Obviously this is not a perfect system as constructs such as experience and credentials are subjective measures, however it is still a step in the right direction!
Even though Ukraine has amended its constitution in order to create equal rights for men and women within the country, and amended the labour code describing this process into even greater detail, the country is still struggling with how to positively implement these processes into daily practices within all industries, regions and organizations. Creating more opportunities for advanced protection for employees with regard to the gender wage gap will be the next step in creating a brighter future for this country.