Ask, but Don't Get
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Ask, but Don't Get

The gender pay gap can no longer be blamed on women not asking.

When it comes to why women don’t earn as much on average as men, a number of theories exist. Some experts suggest the wage disparity is due to occupational choices and socioeconomic factors. Others suggest the difference is due to gender discrimination. 

A recent article in Industrial Relations titled “Do Women Ask?” debunks one persistent theory: women don’t earn as much because they are less likely to ask for a promotion or pay raise because of negative self-stereotyping. In other words, they don’t want to come across to their manager as pushy or overbearing for fear of suffering professionally.

The authors, studying 2013-2014 labour-market data that was the first of its kind, found no statistical difference in men and women asking for a promotion or a pay raise while in their current job. But they did find that women were less successful than men in getting raises or being promoted. 

One silver lining is that the data showed that young women were as successful as young men in asking and getting. Part-time workers, both male and female, were equally less likely to ask than full-time workers.

The data comes from Australia, so the results may not be replicated in other countries. But Australia is a modern economy with a pay gender gap of 14.3 percent in 2016, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is similar to that seen in other developed economies and very close to the OECD average of 14.1 percent. At 18.2 percent in 2017, Canada is tied with the US as having the eighth-highest gap of 43 countries studied by the OECDWhy the gender pay gap persists will continue to be debated and theorized. But one thing seems certain. It can no longer be blamed on women not asking. They ask—they just don’t get.

Sources: Industrial Relations,

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