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Is it a perception, than reality, that women are shortchanged at work?

Having worked for 38 years in several organisations and being aware of human resources practices in many more, it surprises me that there is a gender pay gap (Mindsets must shift to close gender pay gap; Sept 23).

In most organisations, both public and private, a pay scale for each job dictates an employee's pay, regardless of gender.

Senior positions are usually given to the most suitable candidates. The number of women who are chief executives, top lawyers, bankers, doctors, civil servants, board members and politicians cannot be sniffed at.

The fact that there is a higher proportion of men may be attributed to their being more ambitious, as they see themselves as the main provider for the family.

Incidentally, there is a growing incidence of "man tai", the male equivalent of "tai tai" (woman of leisure), as the wife's earnings outstrip the husband's.

I also find it difficult to believe that hirers have "unconscious biases" in assuming that a married woman needs less pay.

By the same token, is an unmarried woman or a divorcee paid more for the same job?

Women today are largely vocal, know their rights and are unafraid to speak up. Many female employees will tell you they have no qualms about negotiating their salaries.

So, it may be more of a perception than reality that women are being shortchanged, especially in a First World country like Singapore.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 01, 2017, with the headline 'Is it a perception, than reality, that women are shortchanged at work?'. Print Edition | Subscribe