Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Dynamism in the Gender Wage Gap: Evidence from Pakistan

One of the main caveats of Pakistan’s economic development history is the persistence of gender inequality with respect to almost all socioeconomic indicators. For instance, Pakistan ranks 66, out of 75 countries, with respect to the Gender Empowerment Measure (Human Development Report, 2006) with a GEM value of 0.377, largely a manifestation of very low estimated female to male earned income ratio, which is a depressing 0.29. GEM and other labour force statistics confirm the gender gap in labour force participation. One of the possible explanations of this gender gap is gender discrimination in the labour market, particularly in wages. Evidence with respect to gender discrimination in Pakistan’s labour market is welldocumented. Siddique, et al. (2006), Nasir and Nazli (2000), Siddique, et al. (1998) and Ashraf and Ashraf (1993) all confirm that men earn higher wages than women even after controlling for measurable characteristics affecting their productivity. These studies, however, analyse the gender wage gap by comparing the mean male/female wage. Studies which compare the gender wage gap at different points along the wage distribution are not available for Pakistan.

Zehra Aftab, Muhammad Sabir