The 4 Rich Countries Where Women Out-Earn Men (With 1 Huge Caveat)

More

We have to talk about the gender wage gap in Ireland. It's the highest in the world. But there's a catch. It's not men earning more than women. It's women -- those without children, at least -- earning more than men.

Irish women without kids earn 17 percent more than the typical male worker, according to new research from the OECD. Along with Australia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, it is one of four rich countries where women without children report higher wages than men. The graph below shows that gender pay gap. In Germany, the U.S., Korea, and Japan, by comparison, childless women average between 3% and 24% lower wages than men.

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 9.49.10 AM.png

Once kids enter the picture, the picture changes.

The second graph here is the same as the first, but with red bars showing the gender gap that emerges when you compare female workers with children (many of whom move to part-time jobs) to all men. In Australia, women without children out-earn men more than any other country except Ireland; but after children, the wage gap plunges to U.S.-levels.

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 3.18.02 PM.png

That leads us to the final graph: The cost of kids. I wanted to calculate and show how far women's earnings fall behind men's after they have children in each of these countries. This graph has the answer. In the Netherlands, women work almost 2 hours more per day than men, and female employment has climbed to over 70% if you factor in part-time workers, the cost of having children is about 7 percentage points compared to male earnings. In Korea, where more married women are expected to leave their jobs and female participation rates haven't much budged for 20 years, according to OECD, female earnings plummet compared to men after kids.

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 9.56.24 AM.png

_______________

BONUS GRAPH: More from OECD for you stat heads...

Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 4.08.41 PM.png


Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In