Women in Mauritius earn less than their male counterparts. What explains this wage gap? What are its implications? How to ensure equality? Point.

The gap in pay between men and women raises eyebrows. Despite similar functions, women received on average Rs 4,500 to Rs 11,900 less in 2023 than their male counterparts, according to Statistics Mauritius. For example, a woman in a managerial position earns on average only Rs 40,400 per month compared to Rs 52,400 for her male counterpart. On the other hand, a woman practicing an elementary profession receives on average Rs 12,600, while her male counterpart receives Rs 19,500.

The reasons

Professions exercised by men with better pay

Taroonah Doolub, Director of International Affairs and lawyer at JurisTax.
Taroonah Doolub, Director of International Affairs and lawyer at JurisTax.

Taroonah Doolub, Director of International Affairs and Lawyer at JurisTax, explains that Mauritius is a patriarchal society. Heavy manual trades and liberal professions such as lawyer, doctor, notary or banker are carried out by men.

“They acquired the professional know-how long before women entered these sectors. What is noted in CVs and years of experience. As a result, the remuneration is often higher,” she explains.

However, times change and salaries are adjusted in most professions, for equal experience.

Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, director of Talent Lab.
Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, director of Talent Lab.

For her part, Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, director of Talent Lab, argues that the salary disparities between men and women in Mauritius result from a complex set of factors.

“Professional segregation plays an important role. Women mainly work in lower-paid sectors and occupations, such as education, health and domestic services,” she says.

On the other hand, lifelong learning is still not anchored in women's morals. “They are therefore easily outstripped in many cases. Additionally, potential pay discrimination based on gender or negotiating skills frequently contributes to the gap,” she points out.

Family responsibilities

Taroonah Doolub argues that in Mauritian culture, women take on more social tasks. They are responsible for the children and the management of the house. “The result is a sharing of time and sometimes the sacrifice or putting on hold of their professional ambition. This has a direct impact on their remuneration. »

Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer is of the same opinion. According to her, the lack of flexibility at work for women with caring responsibilities can put them at a disadvantage compared to men.

“Finally, the underrepresentation of women in management positions limits their opportunities to access higher salaries and greater professional experience. Which perpetuates the cycle of the wage gap,” explains our interlocutor.

Consequences on society and the economy

Taroonah Doolub: “If women's pay remains lower than that of men, purchasing power is limited. Which impacts the quality of life of families and overall consumption. Wage inequality contributes to poverty and economic insecurity among women. It limits their access to professional opportunities and increases the risk of poverty in retirement. »

Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer: “Women's reduced economic participation due to lower wages limits their purchasing power and hampers the country's overall growth. A feeling of inequity and social disparity can be encouraged, which weakens social cohesion. Additionally, salary disparities perpetuate gender stereotypes. They argue that women are less valuable and deserve to be paid less than men. Which can have a negative impact on women's self-esteem and limit their contribution to society. »

The situation in other countries

According to data from the International Labor Organization, Mauritius is in the global average in terms of gender pay gap. By drawing inspiration from effective international models, Mauritius could accelerate the reduction of this gap. For example, Iceland passed an equal pay law requiring companies to show that they pay men and women equally for work of equal value. Norway, meanwhile, has established an affordable and universal childcare system. This supports the professional advancement of women by making it easier for them to reconcile professional and family life.

Recommendations for businesses

Taroonah Doolub believes that women must be put on an equal footing by giving them a workplace that allows them to fulfill their family and professional responsibilities.
“For example, we need crèches in offices and flexible hours,” she suggests. She adds that we need to change mentalities. This will avoid discrimination and encourage a culture of inclusion in which both parents are able to share family responsibilities.

“We must encourage and facilitate the taking of parental leave and flexible working hours for fathers. This will allow family responsibilities to be shared equitably and reduce pressure on women,” she says.

For her part, Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer believes that Mauritian companies can carry out salary audits to identify and analyze salary gaps between men and women.

“Then, the establishment of fair and transparent remuneration policies based on objective criteria such as qualification, experience and performance is essential,” she says.

In addition, companies must absolutely promote equal opportunities when hiring and during promotion exercises. They must ensure that recruitment and promotion processes are free from discrimination. “A salary scale with a paygrading system can easily solve this problem. »

MCB: first bank in Africa certified Equal-Salary

The Mauritius Commercial Bank Limited recently obtained Equal-Salary certification. It is synonymous with excellence in terms of equal pay for MCB employees in Mauritius. After passing the statistical analysis of its salaries, the bank underwent the internal audit entrusted to PwC and proved that it practiced equal pay between women and men.

“Obtaining Equal-Salary, a first in Africa for a banking/financial group, confirms our commitment to equal pay for equal work and equality between men and women within our staff,” says Jean Michel Ng Tseung, CEO of MCB Group.

Questions for… Dr Myriam Blin, gender economist: “Women are over-represented in lower-paid sectors”

Dr Myriam BlinWhat are the main factors that explain the salary disparity between men and women in Mauritius?
In Mauritius, the gender pay gap is around 19%. In other words, for every Rs 100 earned by a man, a woman earns on average Rs 81. This disparity can be explained by several factors rooted in our social and cultural norms. First, there is the gendered division of labor. Research shows that women are socially conditioned to move toward careers in care-related sectors or toward jobs that offer more flexibility, better suited to their culturally imposed family responsibilities.

Thus, women are over-represented in traditionally lower-paid sectors. There is: care, education and services. While men dominate more lucrative fields like engineering and information technology. This professional segregation perpetuates wage inequalities.

Then there is discrimination, both explicit and implicit. Gender stereotypes influence hiring, promotion and compensation decisions. Much research has shown that women are often perceived as less competent or less committed, often unconsciously.

These unconscious biases can influence compensation decisions. Career interruptions linked to family responsibilities also affect women's wages. These breaks, generally necessary to care for children or family members, result in a loss of experience and seniority. Which penalizes women in the long term.

What are the consequences of wage disparity on society and the Mauritian economy?
Economic inequality is a first manifestation of this. Women, earning less than men, have less ability to accumulate wealth and provide for their family in retirement, which affects their ability to save. This perpetuates a cycle of poverty affecting not only women, but also their children.

Women are more affected by poverty than men. This situation also causes a loss of productivity for the Mauritian economy. Studies have shown that equal pay could increase gross domestic product. It is also a shortfall in tax revenue.

What actions can companies take to reduce pay disparity?
The simplest is to carry out a salary audit, as some companies in Mauritius have done. Then, to maintain pay equality in the long term, these salary audits must be carried out regularly. These audits, ideally carried out by third parties to guarantee their impartiality, make it possible to identify and correct unjustified salary gaps on a regular basis.

Companies can also adopt salary transparency policies. By publishing average salaries by position and gender, companies can ensure that compensation is fair and justified. Establishing mentoring, sponsorship and training programs for women can help counterbalance bias. It can promote their career progression. Companies can also establish partnerships to promote the feminization of STEM education pathways. Finally, work-life balance policies, such as parental leave, flexible hours, and telecommuting options, can reduce the impact of career interruptions on women's wages.

Leave a reply below

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Contact Business

Captcha Code