Armenia, a small country located between Europe and Asia, has a long way to go to close the gender wage gap. As of 2022, Armenia ranked 89th out of 146 countries on the Gender Gap Index and 84th out of 146 countries on a subindex that focused specifically on economic participation and opportunity.
5 Facts about the Gender Wage Gap in Armenia
- More than half of Armenians living in poverty are women. Armenia has a poverty rate of 26.5%. According to the Asian Development Bank, 56% of the people who live in poverty are women, suggesting that poverty in Armenia disproportionately affects women.
- The adjusted gender wage gap in Armenia is 28.4 cents. The adjusted gender wage gap differs from the unadjusted gender wage gap as it takes into account factors such as education and hours worked to develop a more fair comparison between the work of men versus women. While the unadjusted gender wage gap is 40 cents, the adjusted gender wage gap is currently 28.4 cents.
- The majority of women in the labor force do part-time/low-wage work. While the gender wage gap in Armenia is a helpful statistic, it does not provide the full story. There is a need to examine the characteristics of the labor Armenian women do — such as the number of hours they work and the type of jobs they hold — in order to fully understand their economic circumstances. While 22% of men in the labor force work part-time jobs, the percentage is significantly higher at 78% for women. Many Armenian women also work in lower-wage jobs such as agriculture and sales.
- Women take on the majority of unpaid domestic labor. While men spent 4.4% of their time on unpaid domestic labor, women spent 21.7% of their time doing the same. Many women in Armenia are inhibited from taking on full-time jobs in the labor force due to the responsibilities of domestic labor.
- Gender bias may be influencing women to take on less financially sustainable career paths. The jarring finding about Armenian women’s substantial role in the part-time labor force raises many questions as to why this is the case. Research shows that gender bias is implicit in Armenia’s cultural norms, suggesting that Armenian boys and girls may be socialized differently in school to develop differing academic and career interests.
According to the World Bank, there are three possible solutions for closing the gender wage gap in Armenia:
- Promote skill-development programs for women in low-wage activities.
- Expand care services and parental leave opportunities to balance work and family life without compromising economic activity.
- Increase women’s presence in management and decision-making positions.
Organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working to achieve these goals. For example, the UNDP implemented the Gender Equality in Public Administration of Armenia project (GEPAA) to advocate for more women to hold positions of power in the Armenian government. Since its implementation, GEPAA has resulted in more than 20 government officials learning about a UNDP methodology that can help advance the development of gender equality in government institutions and ongoing research across the country to examine existing attitudes toward women entering public office and any barriers that may stand in their way.
GEPAA, alongside other organizations, continues to make efforts to provide Armenian women with more opportunities. Even so, the country still faces substantial challenges highlighted by the gender wage gap and unequal economic participation. However, initiatives like the United Nations Development Programme’s efforts to promote gender equality in public administration show promise in addressing these disparities. By prioritizing skill development, expanding care services and advocating for increased women’s representation in decision-making roles, Armenia can make significant strides toward narrowing the gender wage gap and fostering a more equitable society.
– Nicole Alexander