Gender Pay Gap in Zambia
In Zambia and most African states, there’s no doubt that salaries are a hot issue. They plague the news, political culture and about every other strata of life. In May of last year for example, there was public uproar following an increment of Civil Servant’s salaries by 4% despite the fact that the country had an inflation rate of 8 per cent at the time. The disparities on account of gender have not been spared in this debate. It is clear that women in Zambia, not only get less pay than their male counterparts, but are also undervalued in the workplace. If we were to compare apples and bananas here, we would obviously take the United States in comparison. The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report estimated a 21 per cent growth in women-owned businesses in that country. This indicates that women in America are doing fairly well in the business world. Zambia, on the other hand, seems to lag. Even though the ratio of men to women in Zambia is roughly 0.97% i.e. there are more women in the country than men, the Gender pay gap still remains intact.
It is evident that there is discrimination. Take two people who have the same qualifications and wish to get a job as an illustration. Supposing that one is male and the other female, the common trend is that the woman is more likely to take the job on a promise of a lower salary than her equally qualified male counterpart. Experts attribute this disparity to many reasons, one of them being the social biases and stigma against women in Africa. According to the 2019 Labour Force Survey Report conducted under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, only 33.3 per cent of 155,774 persons working in Senior and Middle Management were women. To shed a little bit of more light, we had 103,874 men and only 51,900 women. Apart from that, the same report disclosed that at National level, males among the paid employees had a higher trade union representation in collective bargaining than females. To be more specific, males were represented at 69 per cent while females at only 31 per cent. The results also showed that 40.4 per cent of the population outside the labour force was male while 59.6 per cent was female.
So what picture do we have here? The numbers obviously back up the assertion that there is something clearly wrong. There is not only a gap between the sexes in salaries but also in job availability as a whole. Hopefully, the trend may shift with more Women Empowerment Programs and Entrepreneurial workshops for women. Until then, the situation looks pretty grim.