An International Comparison of Gender Income Gaps

In every country in the world, the average working woman earns less than the average working man. Countries have different average incomes, and different gaps between female and male workers. Which countries have smaller income gaps between male and female? Within each country, what is the absolute amount of the gap between female & male? What is the percentage gap?

Comparing the percentage gap (using GNI per person for 2018) for working women and men within each country reveals the following (right hand columns). Slovenia and Singapore fair best with the smallest gap between the average working female and male.

In keeping with other gender equality metrics, the Scandinavian countries also perform well. Norway and Sweden are 2nd and 3rd respectively. Denmark and Finland place 7th (with Cyprus, Portugal and Croatia). Iceland fairs less well in joint 9th place.

23 countries perform better than Ireland which comes in joint 12th with Canada and the Bahamas.

Some Notes

The UN sources this data from World Bank (2019), IMF (2019) and United Nations Statistics Division (2019).

Estimated gross national income per capita:
Derived from the ratio of female to male wages,
female and male share of economically active (paid workforce) population and gross national income (as measured here in 2011 purchasing power parity terms).

GNI = Gross National Income

GNI =
i.e. gross = everything
national = the whole country
income = money into and that also stays in Ireland.

(This measure aims to exclude money ‘flowing through’, both into and then out of, a country.)

GNI = Gross National Income is just one way to measure “a decent standard of living”. It take no account of inequality amongst those within a country. The trajectory of Ireland’s gender pay gap continues to change over time.

PPP = Purchasing Power Parity refers to measurement of prices in different countries. It uses prices of specific goods to compare the absolute purchasing power. Adjusting for parity, enables you to reveal that the price of X is Y% of income in one country but Z% of income in another. Purchasing power parity resolves this ‘cost of living’ difference.

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