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‘Gender pay gap most common in small private businesses, unorganised sector’

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 12,2015 - Last updated at Feb 12,2015

AMMAN — Although salary inequity between men and women remains a problem in the private sector in Jordan, it is only evident in small enterprises and the unorganised businesses sector, experts said on Thursday.

In the public sector, on the other hand, the average salary of women employees is 9 per cent more than men, according to the Social Security Corporation (SSC).

Social Development Minister Reem Abu Hassan said women’s salaries in the private sector are 35 per cent lower than men.

In an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Thursday, the minister added that this figure is based on studies related to gender equity in the job market.

However, SCC figures indicate that the gap is lower than 35 per cent.

“In 2013, the gap stood at 24 per cent, with almost the same ratio or with a 1 per cent increase in 2014,” SSC Media Director Musa Sbeihi the told The Jordan Times.

According to the SSC database, the average salary of men employed in the private sector stands at JD489, while the average salary for women stands at JD381.

In the public sector, the average salary of women stands at JD459, compared to JD407 for men, Sbeihi noted.

Commenting on the conflicting figures for the private sector, experts interviewed by The Jordan Times said the marked difference in wages between men and women is most notable in the unorganised sector and small enterprises.

“In the banking sector and other big enterprises, salaries are the same as they are paid based on the post held by employees,” said Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies.

Figures he cited indicate that women working in the banking sector constitute 35 per cent of the total employees, and they receive the same salaries as men holding the same positions.

However, Awad noted that some small businesses do discriminate and they should be monitored through organised labour unions.

Zayyan Zawaneh, a prominent economist, agreed with Awad in that organised sectors practise no discrimination in pay, but said a salary gap exists, and not just in Jordan. 

There are developed countries that also discriminate in wages based on gender, he said.

However, a thorough study should be conducted to touch upon the reasons that lead to pay inequity regardless of its rates so that officials can address them effectively, Zawaneh noted.

Some women, he added, accept lower wages because they do not have the education that is required for better jobs. “Thus a detailed study should be conducted.”

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