Gender inequality, gender pay gap, and pay inequity: Perceptions and reactions in Finnish society and workplaces

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Title: Gender inequality, gender pay gap, and pay inequity: Perceptions and reactions in Finnish society and workplaces
Author: Khoreva, Violetta
Belongs to series: Economics and Society – 247
ISSN: 2242-699X
ISBN: 978-952-232-177-0
Abstract: A growing awareness of gender inequality as well as a conviction that it should be eliminated has produced a number of studies aiming at uncovering its reasons. Much less attention has been given to the subjective dimension of how individuals perceive gender inequality. One of the main elements of gender inequality, the gender pay gap, has also received considerable attention by scholars all around the world. However, several researchers documented that their respondents did not perceive the existence of the gender pay gap, even when the gap could be clearly demonstrated from statistical sources. Besides, previous studies on organizational justice have come to somewhat inconsistent conclusions regarding gender differences in the effect of equity and organizational justice on organizational commitment.
Examining whether and to what extent people perceive gender inequality and the gender pay gap to exist can help answering the question of why gender inequality and the gender pay gap persist. Furthermore, studying why, even though female employees tend to earn less than their comparable male counterparts, they often continue to be committed to their organizations to the same or even greater extent than their male colleagues is indeed a question of interest.
Against the background of the above discussion, this thesis aims to examine how individuals with different backgrounds and employees from different workplaces perceive gender inequality, the gender pay gap, and react to pay inequity.
The findings indicate that far more employees perceive gender inequality in society in general rather than in their own workplaces, which means that while employees realize that there are problems in Finnish society concerning gender inequality as a whole, they tend not to perceive the existence of this very problem in their own workplaces.
The finding that employees in lower hierarchical positions perceived workplace gender inequality to a greater extent than employees in higher hierarchical positions was the least expected. This finding suggests that those employees, who are in higher hierarchical positions, are least likely to see the problem of gender inequality.
Finally, the findings show that female employees tend not to perceive an income differential in the first place. The thesis thus provides evidence that female employees react to a lesser extent to pay disparities by continuing to be highly committed towards their organizations. These differences are partly explained by factors related to social comparisons and gender socialization.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/36748
Date: 2012-09-13
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