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Understanding the Problem and Strategies for Closing It

The gender pay gap is a persistent issue in the workplace, with women consistently earning less than men for doing the same job.

Malaysia has been ranked at number 103 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Index 2022, trailing Singapore (49), Thailand (79) and Indonesia (92). According to a report released in November 2022 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, women earn RM96.21 for every RM100 earned by men.

The root causes of the gender pay gap are complex and include factors such as discrimination, occupational segregation, and the imbalance of caregiving responsibilities that fall disproportionately on women. However, regardless of its causes, the pay gap has serious consequences for women, both in terms of their current earning power and their long-term financial stability.

So, what can be done to close the gender pay gap?

Here are some strategies that companies can implement:

Conduct a pay equity analysis
Companies should regularly assess their pay practices to identify and address any disparities that may exist. This may involve analyzing salary data by gender, race, and ethnicity to identify any pay gaps, as well as evaluating factors such as job titles, education, and experience.

Eliminate salary secrecy
Many companies have a culture of salary secrecy, which makes it difficult for employees to negotiate their pay or to determine if they are being paid fairly. By eliminating salary secrecy, companies can create a more transparent and equitable work environment.

Offer family-friendly policies
Women are more likely than men to take time off from work for caregiving responsibilities, which can have a negative impact on their earnings over time. By offering family-friendly policies such as flexible work arrangements, paid family leave, and on-site childcare, companies can help support women in balancing their work and family responsibilities.

Encourage salary negotiations
Research has shown that women are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries. By encouraging salary negotiations and providing support and training to women on how to effectively negotiate, companies can help close the pay gap.

Promote diversity and inclusion
A diverse and inclusive workplace is essential for closing the gender pay gap. By promoting diversity and inclusivity, companies can create a work environment where everyone is valued and everyone’s contributions are recognized.