- Observatory: EurWORK
- Pay and income,
- Working conditions,
- Published on: 26 April 2010
Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.
Gender wage gap issues have been discussed over the last few years in Latvia and the most significant studies cover the period 1996-2005. However, there are no specific fiscal measures or legislation in Latvia concerning the reduction of gender pay gap inequality. According to Labour Law every person has equal rights concerning working conditions. In light of the current economic crisis there are formal debates concerning the wage gap between sectors of national economy, however specific policy measures are not implemented.
1. The gender pay gap: national data
1.1. Please provide the reference details (see fact-sheet below), including a brief summary, of the main studies and research on the size and the determinants of the gender pay gap in your country published in the period 1999-2009.
National studies on the gender pay gap
“Gender equality aspects in the labour market”
The “Labour Market Studies” project of the European structural fund national programme “Labour market studies of the Ministry of Welfare”
Research team leader dr.oec. Brigita Zepa
|Year of publication||
|Link to electronic copy of the report|
|Coverage (nation-wide, sectors, occupations, regions, etc: please specify in detail)||
National level study
|Time span (e.g. 1995-2003)||
|Data-set (official, ad-hoc survey or study, etc: please specify in detail)||
Research is based on official statistical data (Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia) and quantitative methods of analysis – focus groups, deep
interviews, expert interviews.
|Type of analyses performed on the data-set (methods, e.g. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition)||
There were four methods used in research concerning wage gap issues:
• wage equation with gender indicator (e.g., Newell and Reilly 2001);
• quintile regression method (e.g., Newell & Reilly 2001; Jurajda & Harmgart 2004);
• Oaxaca decomposition (Oaxaca 1973, Oaxaca & Ransom 1994, 1999);
• Applying the detailed wage decomposition (Oaxaca 1973, Oaxaca & Ransom 1994, Yun 2005).
|Main results. Unadjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends||
There is a progress in reduction of wage gap disparities since 1996. In 1996 average female wage was 78 percent of average male gross wage. In 1996-2005 the wage difference of men and women has decreased from 22 to 18%.
|Main results. Adjusted gender pay gap (W/M%*): please indicate both levels and trends||
Gender pay gap at other conditions being equal was calculated for 2005. Comparing employees with similar age, education, nationality, marital status and work contract type, total experience in profession and number of hours usually worked per week; in 2005 the average female wage comprised 76.1% to 78.6% of the average male wage.
|Main results. Please list the individual and/or workplace variables taken into consideration in the adjusted gender pay gap (e.g. education, age, seniority, working hours, occupation, region, sector, firm size, etc.)||
Age, education, nationality, marital status, work contract type, work experience, number of hours worked per week.
Results show that gender wage gap (after excluding effect of other factors) is slightly smaller in public than private sector. Differences between urban and rural areas as well as between employees with higher education and without it are not consistent (p.65).
Main results. Which ‘institutional’ or policy variables (qualitative or quantitative) have been taken into account in the study?
Is there evidence (i.e. in multi-national studies incorporating your country, or when observing a national switch in policies such as, for instance, the introduction of sectoral minimum wages) that certain institutional factors or policies have tended to affect (narrow) the gender pay gap?
|Main results. The determinants of the gender pay gap: please provide a brief summary||
• Difference in wages can partially be explained by the fact that men prefer greater workload, while women are more often employed less than 40 hours per week.
• Wage differences for men and women working in an enterprise are related to views (stereotypes) of the employer on the role of gender. The Research shows, that almost a half of the respondents-employers consider that men are likely to receive higher wage for the same work, but women agree on working for a lower wage, however the majority of them do not deny that there exists any possibility of gender inequity in their enterprises.
|Main results. Policy recommendations: please provide a brief summary||
The research provides wide list of recommendations, of them:
• For realisation of gender equality principle in the labour market, it is necessary to take measures for vertical segregation prevention (support for entrepreneurship of women, active inclusion into the lists of parliament and municipal elections, etc).
• A greater attention should be paid to acquisition of higher education for all citizens and to reduce the low education level among men.
• To develop trade unions and favour conclusion of collective agreements thus reducing the wage difference of men and women.
* Female pay as a percentage of male pay.
1.2. Are there any studies published in the 1999-2009 period, possibly using qualitative methods, which investigate the social processes which contribute to determining the gender pay gap through selection, occupational segregation, discrimination, and the like? Is there any research on the development of pay gaps during the life course? Do pay gaps emerge at the beginning of the individual careers of women or do they become significant at later stages of professional development? Because of different gendered career paths or because pay gaps tend to increase as the professional career advances (i.e. higher gaps at higher organisation positions)?
Gender pay gap issues in Latvia are analysed in context of unemployment, labour market development, migration issues etc.:
M.Hazans. Unemployment and the Earnings Structure in Latvia (2005).
According to research conclusions, in 1997 females earned 17 percent less than otherwise similar men, and this gap has increased to 25 percent in 2002. The increase of gender wage differentials took place between 2000 and 2002. Men have benefited more than women from the strong wage growth during this period. According to Hazans, well-educated women tend to receive lower wages than men with similar characteristics, and gender wage gap has increased (1997-2002).
Wages and impacting factors (2006). European Union structural funds national programme “Labour Market Research” project “Ministry of Welfare research”. The Research deals with wage formation issues, social partner’s role in the process of implementation of legislation. However, the study does not analyze gender pay gap, there is a reference regarding increase of wage gap via higher growth rate of male earnings (p.32). The main factors that influence the wage within an enterprise are the size of an enterprise, kind of economic activity, sector (public or private), region and development indicators of an enterprise.
Specific problems of the labour market in Latvia and its regions (2007). European Union structural funds national programme “Labour Market Research” project “Ministry of Welfare research”. The Research does not analyze gender pay issues, it debates about gender discrimination in general. According to main conclusions, in Latvia division into “male” and “female” jobs is considered to be a normal phenomenon. The so-called “female” jobs are paid less and men do not want to work there, but women agree to work for lower salary is also considered normal (p.138).
1.3. Are there any studies in your country on how gender differentials of pay have been affected by the current economic crisis?
There are no such studies at the moment in Latvia.
2. Government initiatives to address the gender pay gap
2.1. In light of the current economic crisis, has the national government taken any steps to assess and monitor the impact of the current economic downturn on gender pay inequalities? If yes, please briefly illustrate them, including the results of such assessment. Has the government started any initiatives to prevent or address the possible widening of the gender pay gap because of the economic downturn?
The economic crisis negatively affects social developments; however the main issues discussed at governmental level are connected with social benefits, unemployment level and overall socio-economic situation in Latvia. Gender wage gap issues are not discussed in the context of crisis.
2.2. Please illustrate the major government initiatives to address the gender pay gap put in place since 2005. Since there is extensive legislation on ender equality, interventions are usually of an indirect nature.
Since 1999 the Ministry of Welfare is the responsible institution for the development of gender equality policy in the government. To ensure the implementation of gender equality issues at the highest level the Gender Equality Council was established in 2002. The advisory council is established and approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and contains 22 representatives (on July 2009) of the top level of public administration bodies. The Gender Equality Council has a strategic role to promote the implementation of the gender equality policy at all levels in public administration institutions and to draft recommendations about the necessary changes.
Another institution - the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia acts to protect the human rights and to prevent gender discrimination. The activities of an Ombudsman are regulated by the Ombudsman Law (came into force on 1st January 2007).
State Labour Inspectorate is a state administrative and supervisory institution that works under supervision of the Ministry of Welfare. The main task of Inspectorate is to take measures to ensure effective implementation of State policy in the field of labour legal relations, labour protection and the technical supervision of dangerous equipment.
In general there are no specific fiscal measures or legislation in Latvia concerning gender pay gap inequality reduction. According to Labour Law of Latvia, everyone has an equal right to work, to fair, safe and healthy working conditions, as well as to fair work remuneration (sect.7, p.1).
2.3. Please illustrate the main initiatives by the government to address the gender pay gap since 2005 in the public sector. Here the government acts as the employer and can intervene more directly, even if often the rules on compensation leave less room for pay differentials.
There is no such detailed information available.
There are indirect methods to promote females’ participation in science. Since 2005 the grants of L`Oréal “For Women in science” are available. The project is realised with support of Latvian National Commission for UNESCO and Latvian Academy of Sciences. However, the statistics on wage gap in science are not available.
3. Social partner initiatives to address the gender pay gap
3.1. In light of the current economic crisis, have the social partners, whether unilaterally or jointly, taken any steps to assess and monitor the impact of the current economic downturn on gender pay inequalities? If yes, please briefly illustrate them, including the results of such assessment. Have the social partners started any initiatives to prevent or address the possible widening of the gender pay gap because of the economic downturn?
There is no such information available. Discussions regarding gender pay gap reduction are not presented on national level in light of the economic downturn. Main questions analysed are connected with social security, changes in working conditions etc.
3.2. Please indicate whether the gender pay gap has figured prominently on the trade union agenda since 2005. Have the trade unions initiated in this period any specific initiatives to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such initiatives.
The Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS) represents the interests of employees on national level. LBAS represents the interests of its members in National Tripartite Cooperation Council and its Sub-councils, state and municipal institutions and courts. In 1999 the Women's Council of the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia was created, in 2002 Council was renamed Gender Equality Council. Council takes part in research regarding gender equality issues, organizes conferences and seminars.
3.3. Please indicate whether the gender pay gap has figured prominently on the employer associations agenda since 2005. Have the main employer associations initiated in this period any specific initiatives to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such initiatives.
The largest organization representing the interests of employers is Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK). The confederation - in cooperation with Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia - represents its member’s interests in National Tripartite Cooperation Council and its Sub-councils. The result of social dialogue is improvement of working conditions since integration into EU. Information about specific issues and debates regarding gender pay gap is not available. LDDK provides wide information about working conditions in general: brochures, booklets, research papers.
3.4. Please indicate whether multi-employer collective bargaining has contributed to address the gender pay gap since 2005. Has multi-employer collective bargaining introduced specific clauses or instruments to address the gender pay gap? Please illustrate the most important of such clauses or instruments.
There is no such information available.
3.5. Please indicate whether single-employer collective bargaining and social dialogue practices at company level have contributed to address the gender pay gap since 2005. Has single-employer collective bargaining introduced specific clauses or instruments to address the gender pay gap at company level? Please illustrate the most important of such clauses or instruments.
There is no such information available.
3.6. Has the issue of the gender pay gap been particularly important in certain sectors? If yes, please indicate the sectors involved (up to three), the main reasons of such relevance and its most significant expressions and achievements (up to three for each sector - unilateral actions by employers or unions, joint initiatives, collective bargaining).
According to the research “A study of factors which determine the ability of women to become involved in the labour market” (2005) conclusions, in average women received 81.7% of average men’s wages. The largest difference in wages was in financial sector (60%), mining and quarrying (70%), real estate (80%). However, the reduction of the wage gap across sectors is rather formal on national level.
4. Good practices
4.1. Since 2005, have there been any major initiatives to identify, collect and disseminate good practices on equal pay or more generally on gender equality in employment?
There is no such information available.
5.1. Please provide your own assessment and comments on the initiatives to address the gender pay gap covered by this comparative study, including any further information that you consider important to illustrate the state-of-play of pay equity in your country.
Gender wage gap issues are significant in Latvia in the context of equal working conditions. There are several studies, research papers analyzing differences in wages between genders. The legislation has been improved on national level; the social dialogue is tended to improve working conditions. The Ministry of Welfare has drawn up the Programme for Implementation of Gender Equality 2007-2010. Objective of the Programme is to improve ensuring of equal opportunities and rights for women and men, as well as access to resources in all areas of life.
However, today the most problematic issue is providing information for society per se. There are a large proportion of employees who are not freely dealing with legislation regarding human and labour rights.
Irina Curkina, Institute of Economics LAS