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The gender pay gap revisited: insights from a developing country context

D. Jamali (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
Y. Sidani (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
A. Kobeissi (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

While the gender pay gap has received considerable attention, the evidence from developing countries remains scant. The purpose of this paper is to examine the salience of a gender pay gap in a developing country context, through an empirical study of differentials in wages/salaries across gender in the banking, nursing and higher education sectors in Lebanon.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was designed and distributed to a sample of 168 employees drawn from a total of three major banks, five well‐known medical centers and two institutions of higher education. The survey questionnaires were supplemented by interviews with three women managers from each sector studied.

Findings

The findings suggest that the gender pay gap is only salient in the higher education sector, although male and female employees in all three sectors perceive that there is no gender pay gap and discrimination is considered to be a salient issue only in the educational sector. Although not entirely expected, the findings regarding those wage gap perceptions are explained in relation to the adoption of a grading compensation scheme which can go a long way according to the present research in alleviating feelings of inequity as well as prevailing cultural expectations regarding gender earnings differentials in a relatively conservative society.

Originality/value

The value added of this research is to present fresh insights into the gender pay gap from a peculiar Middle Eastern context and to highlight the importance of a fair and equitable compensation scheme in alleviating perceptions of inequity and discrimination at work. The paper also directs attention to the influence of cultural expectations, which invariably mold greater or lesser sensitivity to gender pay gaps.

Keywords

Citation

Jamali, D., Sidani, Y. and Kobeissi, A. (2008), "The gender pay gap revisited: insights from a developing country context", Gender in Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 230-246. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542410810878059

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited