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Vive la différence – but not in pay: French strive to close the remuneration gap

Human Resource Management International Digest

ISSN: 0967-0734

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




Despite significant anti-discrimination laws in most countries, a gender pay gap still remains a substantial concern. The notion of comparable worth has been promoted for several years by the International Labor Organization and a few countries to fight against relatively lower female salaries. The purpose of this paper is to review the rationales for comparable worth and explain how gender biases, generally involved in traditional job evaluation, can be prevented.


After reviewing the motives, logics and three major applications of comparable worth logics in pay equity policies, the authors expose an analysis of a French sectorial job classification that the authors carried out as experts for establishing a French Equality Ombudsman’s guide.


The findings show how the redundancy and definition of job evaluation criteria, along with the weighting system, contributes to undervaluation of clerks’ jobs, predominantly held by women. The authors also highlight the main recommendations of the guide to prevent gender bias in job evaluation, that are derived from this case study, among others. The authors conclude on the difficulties of implementing comparable worth in France, in a period of long-lasting economic crisis and of weak union power.


This experience is the first of its kind – promoted by the Ombudsman – in France. It has never been related in an academic journal as far as the authors know.



Retraction notice

The Publisher wishes to retract the precis article “Vive la différence – but not in pay: French strive to close the remuneration gap”, published in Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 25 No. 2, 2017. It has come to the attention of Emerald Publishing that this precis article contains large sections of unattributed text taken from the original research article “Job evaluation and gender pay equity: a French example”, by Anne-Francoise Bender, Frederique Pigeyre, published in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, Vol. 35 No. 4, 2016.

Precis articles are intended to summarise original academic research articles for a different audience, and should not include verbatim passages from the original articles. This error occurred due to a miscommunication in the commissioning process.

To avoid any repeated incidents of this nature, Emerald has fully revised its guidelines and briefed its Commissioning Editors. Human Resource Management International Digest sincerely apologises to the original authors and its readers for this error. The original article can be viewed here:


(2017), "Vive la différence – but not in pay: French strive to close the remuneration gap", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 16-18.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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