Glass Ceiling And Sticky Floor. Why Women In Belarus Are Paid Less Than Men

In Belarus, women earn on average a quarter less than men. Interestingly, the wage gap in the state sector is higher than in the private, according to the Gender Wage Gap in Belarus: State vs. Private Sector.

Belarus’s labour market, like other neighbouring and transition countries, faces the problem of wage inequality between men and women. And this gap is gradually growing.

So, according to Belstat, the average gender wage gap in terms of monthly wages was 19% in 2000, it increased up to 23,8% in 2015, and reached 25,4% for women in 2017.

The data used in the research is from the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) conducted in Belarus in 2017. About 10,000 Belarusians aged 18-79 from different regions took part in the study.

Women’s wages are on average 22.6% lower than men’s.

Just like official statistics, earlier polls show lower numbers: in 2006 – it was 17.8%, and in 1996 – 9%.

“The level of female earnings is lower than the male regardless of the occupational type, educational background, work experience and organizational type,” the research reads.

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Experts note that education, job-related experience and the choice of the occupation can slightly help women reduce the pay gap.

The authors of the study believe that the major share of the gender wage gap is formed by the unexplained part, which is likely to be attributed to discrimination.

State vs private

In the state sector, women are more likely to encounter the *glass ceiling (a barrier to advancement in a profession) and sticky floor (occupying low-paying, low-mobility jobs) effects.

At the same time, in Belarus, unlike other countries with economies in transition, female workers are better off being in the private sector. The authors of the study explain this by the following.

“First, Belarusian private firms work under stronger regulation than in other transition economies which makes it harder for them to set low wages.

Second, they also operate under stronger competition, which forces them to identify individual productivity more correctly, narrowing the gender difference in pay.

In contrast, the paternalistic attitude to women left as a legacy from the Soviet Union further increases the gender wage gap in the public sector.”

In general, additional structural shifts of the economy and by the growth of competition are needed to induce the further reduction of the gender wage gap in Belarus.