More female managers, but wage gap remains
The rise of female managers is not immediately decreasing the wage gap between men and women, according to research by Utrecht University and Radboud University. The researchers found that a female superior does not automatically mean the woman working below her will get paid better, the Volkskrant reports.
Sociologists Tanja van der Lippe of Utrecht University and Margriet van Hek of Radboud University compared the income data of employees at 41 Dutch companies in six sectors and interviewed nine women in leadership positions. They found that the gender wage gap does not decrease if the direct superior is a woman. However, the wage gap is larger in an organization with no women in management positions and smaller in businesses with many female managers at the helm.
The wage gap in the Netherlands is currently about 14 percent and decreasing very slowly. That despite the fact that the number of women in leadership positions is steadily increasing. About 30 percent of managers in the Netherlands are women, as are 33 percent of supervisory directors and 14 percent of top executives.
According to Van Hek, this can partially be explained by female managers having limited influence on other women's salaries. Women are mainly overrepresented in lower management and, therefore, often "just another cog in the machine," she said. "They can exert an indirect influence on the salary, for example, by assigning women more important tasks, but in organizations where many women already work, they usually do not see the need for this, and in male organizations, they doubt whether a woman can keep up."
The researchers found that companies with female managers seem to pay more attention to work-life balance. In organizations with women at the helm, employees get more understanding when they have problems at home, such as a sick child who needs to be picked up from school. "That helps young mothers, in particular, to perform their work better during a period when they are busy with their families. This also makes it easier for them to move up in the workplace. That is important because the pay gap often widens when women have children."