Study: Religion May Cause Wage Gap Between Men And Women
Why is there a persistent wage gap between men and women? Turns out, religion may play a big role in the disparity.
New research finds that the wage gap is 8 percentage points wider in the five most religious US states than in the five most secular, with women making 18% less than men in the least religious states and 26% less in the most religious. What’s more, the gender gap is projected to vanish in 28 years in the most secular states, compared with a stunning 109 years in the most religious.
“If they’re in a religious community, our children are not going to know a world in which they’re paid equitably,” says Traci Sitzmann, an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado, Denver. “It’s a little bit scary.”
Sitzmann and her colleague Elizabeth Campbell, an assistant professor of work and organizations at the University of Minnesota, were interested in exploring the impacts of religiosity on workforce issues. They started with a global view. Using data from 140 countries, they compared the likelihood of citizens answering “yes” to the question, “Is religion important in your daily life?” with the gender wage gap in those countries as of 2013, the most recent global data available. They found a striking association: The more religious a country, the greater the wage gap. In nations where more than 95% or more people said religion was important in their daily lives, such as Pakistan and the Philippines, women earned around 46% as much as men.
In countries where fewer than 20% of people said religion was important to them in daily life, such as Sweden and Estonia, women averaged around 75% of men’s wages. The United States had moderately high religiosity and women in the U.S. earned 66 cents for every dollar men earned, Sitzmann told Live Science.
The effect held true for all major world religions, Sitzmann said. It didn’t matter if most believers in a country were Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or adherants to a folk religion. The wage gap was still greater in countries where religion played a major role in daily life.