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The BBC has been stirring up some frustrated emotions since July 19th. They had published the names of its top earners, including how much they made exactly. Despite the list being predominantly male, the list also showed that the men on the list on average made more than the women.

The feminists who have been protesting for equal pay quickly picked up on this and used it as evidence that the gender pay gap continues to exist. Earlier claims made held that women only made 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Although an article on Forbes has long since debunked the myth, it has continued to live on. The feminists scorned the BBC, saying it proved women at BBC are paid less ‘’for the same work’’.

Luckily, data is available to verify such claims. Executive search and Recruiting firm Korn Ferry gathered data for 8.7 million employees and compared it for men and women.

For Britain, it turns out women, on average, do indeed earn 28.6% less than men do. However, when women and men are compared when working on the same level, it drops to 9.3%. When they perform jobs at the same level at the same company, it drops further to 2.6%. And when they are performing the same function, at the same level, at the same company, the difference is only 0.8%.

For France, the numbers move from 17% overall, to only 2.7% for the same function, same level, and same company. For Germany, the number decreases from 15.1% to 3.0%. None of them seem to be anywhere near the original amount or near the ‘’77 cents on the dollar’’ myth.

Of course, this doesn’t conclusively prove that there is no gender discrimination in the labour markets. Yet, it is unclear what is causing women not to be in the same high-paying jobs that men find themselves in. Is it family arrangements where women sacrifice their career to care for the children? Is it discrimination by the hiring managers who prefer men? Is it the types of jobs women find interesting and enjoyable?

Ultimately, it will most likely be a combination of all the above.

And finally, part of the differences observed in pay even when compared for function, level and company, may be due to negotiation skills and tactics. It is known that women perform worse when negotiating their payday. Again, this can be due to several factors, including societal expectations of how women ought to behave.