Kuwait’s alarming gender pay gap ranks among highest globally

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A government report reveals a 30% gender pay gap in Kuwait’s public sector.

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25, (Agencies): A recent government report issued by the National Center for Development Research, affiliated with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, has shed light on the significant gender pay gap in Kuwait, ranking among the highest globally. According to the latest official statistics, the salary gap between male and female workers in the government sector stands at a substantial 30%.

The report, based on the labor market system for government sector workers, issued in June 2022, discloses that the average monthly wage for a Kuwaiti woman in the government sector is approximately 1,327 dinars, significantly lower than the 1,895 dinars earned by their male counterparts.

The World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report highlighted the widening pay gap in Kuwait during the periods (2006-2010) and (2012-2022), with slight decreases observed in 2012, 2020, and 2021. The overall average percentage of equal wages for similar work between men and women is 67%, representing a 7% decrease from 2006 to 2023.

Contrary to the gap in basic salaries based on job grades, certifications, and appointments, the report emphasizes that the disparity arises in additional benefits such as social allowances, promotions, and other related perks.

In terms of annual income, the report reveals that females in Kuwait earn an average of $25,597, significantly lower than the $53,640 earned by males, indicating a 52% difference in favor of men during the period from 2006 to 2022. The gender pay gap reached its peak in 2017 when the annual income for males was $56,059.

Globally, Kuwait has experienced a decline of 34 places in the overall rankings of the Global Gender Gap Index since its inception in 2006. Notably, its weakest performance has been in the economic participation and opportunities category, where it dropped by 46 places. Over the period 2006-2023, Kuwait’s performance in the index areas has seen a 10-place decline in academic achievement, an 18-rank improvement in health and survival, and a 23-place drop in political empowerment.

Analyzing Kuwait’s situation in the economic participation and opportunities field, the report indicates a consistent decline, with the best performance recorded in 2020. While the overall gender gap score remains average in this area, Kuwait’s 2023 ranking shows advancement in the “percentage of equal wages between women and men for similar work” index, moving up four places compared to the previous year.

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