Education and Equality: Tertiary Education and the Gender Pay Gap
Women are worth less.
Or at least that's what the data published in the OECD Education at a Glance 2012 report suggests: men with a tertiary education earn an additional $340,199 USD over the course of their working lives, while women have to settle for a mere $235,680.
The decision to pursue a degree remains the most reliable way of improving individual career prospects for every OECD citizen, but despite the significant financial benefits enjoyed by both men and women who achieve university-level education, a gaping pay gap between the genders remains.
In fact, across OECD countries the difference in full-time earnings between 25-64 year old men and women is the largest among those with a tertiary education. In only 5 countries â€” Finland, New Zealand, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom â€” do the earnings of tertiary-educated women amount to 75% or more of men's earnings. In Estonia, Italy and Korea women who have obtained a degree earn 65% or less of what tertiary-educated men earn.
Using data from the Education at a Glance report coupled with information from a second OECD publication (Gender Equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship: Final Report to the MCM 2012), we can begin to explore how policies that address affordable childcare, gender-based vocational decisions and general cultural expectations can help us create more equitable societies and help close the pay-gap for good.
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