German women expect lower salaries, study says

Wed Jul 7, 2010 12:22pm EDT
 
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By Max Chrambach

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A relatively wide disparity between wages that women and men in Germany earn could be due to the fact that women expect less pay than their male counterparts, according to study published on Wednesday.

The report by the respected DIW Institute for Economic Research found that equally qualified women earn about 20 percent less than their male competitors, giving Germany one of the highest wage gaps between genders in the European Union.

"Many Germans, including women themselves, still see men as the main breadwinners," Juergen Schupp, a researcher at the DIW, told Reuters. "There are just certain stereotypes which are hard to get out of people's heads."

When asked to name fair compensation for their work, a majority of women listed a salary that was lower than men for the same type of work, the survey found.

The researchers said that unequal pay had widespread tacit acceptance in German society -- one of the reasons the gap has remained so wide in Europe's largest economy.

While a majority of respondents said that gender should not have an influence on income levels, many also assigned women a lower salary than equally qualified men when asked to select a fair compensation for a list of various professions.

Germany has one of the largest wage inequality records in the European Union.

Of the 27 member countries, only Estonia, the Czech Republic and Austria have larger pay gaps between women and men, according to the European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

(Reporting by Max Chrambach; editing by Paul Casciato)