Jobs requiring similar skills, qualifications or experience tend to be poorly paid and undervalued when they are dominated by women rather than by men. For example, the (mainly female) cashiers in a supermarket usually earn less than the (mainly male) employees involved in stacking shelves and other more physical tasks.
In addition the evaluation of performance, and hence pay level and career progression, may also be biased in favour of men. For example, where women and men are equally well qualified, more value can be attached to responsibility for capital than to responsibility for people.
The gender pay gap is also reinforced by the segregation in the labour market where women and men still tend to concentrate in specific areas of work. Such is the case of women, who tend to predominate in lower valued and lower paid occupations like health, education and public administration.
Segregation is frequently linked to traditions and stereotypes. Whilst in some cases this may reflect personal choices, traditions and stereotypes may influence, for example, the choice of educational paths and, consequently, professional careers that girls and women make. While around 60% of new university graduates are women, they are a minority in fields like mathematics, computing and engineering. Consequently, there are fewer women working in scientific and technical jobs, which in many cases results in women working in lower valued and lower paid sectors of the economy.
Additionaly and because of these traditions and stereotypes, women are expected to reduce their working hours or exit the labour market to carry out child or elderly care.
Family, care and domestic responsibilities are still not equally shared. The task of looking after dependent family members is largely borne by women. Far more women than men choose to take parental leave. This fact, together with the lack of facilities for childcare and elderly care, means that women are often forced to exit the labour market.
Consequently, women have more career interruptions or work shorter hours than men in order to be able to combine both work and family responsibilities. This not only has a negative impact on their career development and promotion prospects, but it also means less financially rewarding careers.