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East Africa: UN Women Calls for Equal Pay Between Women and Men

Nairobi — UN Women is advocating for equal pay for men and women to bridge the gender pay gap in the East and Southern Africa region by 2030.

In its latest report dubbed ‘Why Women Earn Less?’, the body says that women only earn about 81 cents for every $1 earned by men on an hourly basis in workplaces, representing a gender pay gap of 19 percent.

The gender gap, according to the report, is attributed to factors such as age, education, occupation, and job type.

Mehjabeen Alarakhia, UN Women Regional Policy Specialist, said that women with college degrees face a smaller gender pay gap than women with primary school education.

However, educated women earn 18 percent less than their male counterparts with college degrees.

“Women with college degrees earn 18 percent less than their male counterparts with college degrees while women with primary school education earn 31 percent less than men with the same level of education,” she said.

The report also shows that women drop out of the labour force or work shorter hours after marriage.

“Married women employment rate is 23% per cent lower than married men while single women employment rate is only 3% per cent lower than single men.”

Alarakhia added that the difference in pay between the two genders becomes smaller after marriage because women with better skills and qualifications tend to keep working even after they are married.

She stated that in 2021, the women’s labor force participation rate in the region was 66 percent, surpassing the global rate of 53 percent for women, highlighting the crucial need to bridge the pay gap by building equality and enhancing equal pay.

“Some career sectors which are a big source of employment for women are undervalued, thus the difference in gender pay gap,” Alarakhia stated.

According to Jackline Makhoha, who represented Gender and Affirmative Action State Department Principal Secretary Veronica Nduva, the department is committed to the implementation of two third gender rules in order to have more women in leadership positions.

“Implementation of the two third gender rule will go a long way in addressing historical discriminations based on gender which greatly contribute to gender inequality,” said Makokha.

The survey was conducted in 10 countries across the region from 2017 to 2022 by the National Bureau of Statistics.

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