EQUAL PAY MEANS THAT WOMEN AND MEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE EQUAL REMUNERATION FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
Equal pay means that women and men have the right to receive equal remuneration for work of equal value.
This means ensuring that women and men working in identical or similar jobs receive the same pay.
It also means that women and men should get equal pay when they do work that is completely different but can be shown to be of equal value, when evaluated based on objective criteria. These objective criteria take into account factors such as skills, qualifications, working conditions, levels of responsibility and effort required by the job.
Evaluating jobs based on gender-neutral criteria allows us to address the gender pay gap as a systemic issue, often tied to assumptions and stereotypes about the value of jobs that are “typically” seen as “women’s work”. It highlights the fact that women are often concentrated in sectors that are under-valued – such as care work – even though they involve high levels of responsibility and effort, and multiple specialized skills. To effectively tackle the gender pay gap, it is essential to discuss pay inequality across different sectors and occupations, as well as within them.
Objective job evaluations can also positively impact other groups that often experience discrimination, such as migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples and LGBTI people.
Federal Pay Equality Commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Karen Jensen, explains Canada’s approach to equal pay for work of equal value using a gender-neutral, non-discriminatory, job evaluation tool. This tool assess skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions to determine and compare the value of jobs.
A HUMAN RIGHT
EQUAL PAY IS A RECOGNIZED HUMAN RIGHT, TO WHICH ALL WOMEN AND MEN ARE ENTITLED
The Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) was the first international instrument on this issue. The Convention was adopted after the Second World War, during which women entered the labour force en masse and held the front line of production in many countries. Pay inequality was an obvious and measurable form of discrimination at work, and so the push for equal pay became an important first step towards wider gender equality in the labour market and society in general. The Convention was forward-looking for its time and remains relevant today, as full pay equity between women and men has still not been achieved.