Are Reparations for Women a Solution to the Gender Wage Gap?

Despite laws that prohibit discrimination against women in the workplace, a gap persists in what men and women receive in compensation for equal work.

Despite laws that prohibit discrimination against women in the workplace, a gap persists in what men and women receive in compensation for equal work. The sources of this income gap, however, have been hard to pin down, and no single cause is identifiable. Still, the wage difference is a matter of justice, argues Thomas Wells, professor of ethics and philosophy at the University of Groningen.


It is such a matter of justice, says Wells, that it ought to be corrected immediately by paying women reparations without reference to the causes of the inequality:

"We should assume that men and women would earn the same amount unless there were structural constraints on women. We should start by repairing the glaring problem of the gender income gap and then worry about addressing its causes."

As with many statistical statements that are brought to bear on our sense of social justice, it's all in how the inequality is measured. In her Big Think interview, Saadia Zahidi, Director of Constituents at the World Economic Forum, discusses how the gender wage gap is measured and how different countries are approaching the task of eliminating it:

Read Wells' formula for reparations at 3Quarks Daily

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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