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The Largest Gender Pay Gaps in OECD Countries

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

Chart showing top 10 largest gender pay gaps among OECD countries

The Largest Gender Pay Gaps in OECD Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

While the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) includes 38 member countries who all share a commitment to democracy and economic development, many of them still have significant gender pay gaps between men and women.

In this graphic we’ve ranked the OECD countries with the 10 largest gender pay gaps, using the latest data from the OECD for 2022.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between median full-time earnings for men and women divided by the median full-time earnings of men.

Which Countries Have the Worst Gender Pay Gaps? 

South Korea’s gender pay gap is the highest among OECD members at 31.2%—almost triple the OECD average of 11.6%. 

RankCountryPercentage Difference in Men's & Women's Full-time Earnings
1🇰🇷 South Korea31.2%
2🇮🇱 Israel25.4%
3🇱🇻 Latvia24.9%
4🇯🇵 Japan21.3%
5🇨🇾 Cyprus20.8%
6🇪🇪 Estonia20.5%
7🇲🇹 Malta17.9%
8🇨🇦 Canada17.1%
9🇺🇸 United States17.0%
10🇲🇽 Mexico16.7%
OECD Average11.6%

Additionally, the three largest countries in North America—Canada, the U.S., and Mexico—also all made it on the list. Canada’s gap is the worst among the group (17.1%), closely followed by the U.S. (17.0%), and Mexico (16.7%). 

What’s With South Korea’s Large Gap?

Not only is South Korea’s gender pay gap the highest among OECD members, but its top spot is secured by a wide margin. The country in second place is Israel, with a gender pay gap of 25.4%. While still elevated, this is almost a 6 percentage point difference from South Korea’s.

South Korea’s longstanding workplace seniority system is largely responsible for its wide gap. This system, which rewards years of service, disproportionately penalizes women as they are more likely to temporarily leave the workforce for child rearing. 

See More Graphics about Demographics and Money

If you found this interesting, check out this visualization that looks at wealth expectations for 2024 by generation and gender. 

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Demographics

The Smallest Gender Wage Gaps in OECD Countries

Which OECD countries have the smallest gender wage gaps? We look at the 10 countries with gaps lower than the average.

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Chart showing the OECD countries with the 10 smallest gender pay gaps

The Smallest Gender Pay Gaps in OECD Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Among the 38 member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), several have made significant strides in addressing income inequality between men and women.

In this graphic we’ve ranked the OECD countries with the 10 smallest gender pay gaps, using the latest data from the OECD for 2022.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between median full-time earnings for men and women divided by the median full-time earnings of men.

Which Countries Have the Smallest Gender Pay Gaps?

Luxembourg’s gender pay gap is the lowest among OECD members at only 0.4%—well below the OECD average of 11.6%.

RankCountryPercentage Difference in Men's & Women's Full-time Earnings
1🇱🇺 Luxembourg0.4%
2🇧🇪 Belgium1.1%
3🇨🇷 Costa Rica1.4%
4🇨🇴 Colombia1.9%
5🇮🇪 Ireland2.0%
6🇭🇷 Croatia3.2%
7🇮🇹 Italy3.3%
8🇳🇴 Norway4.5%
9🇩🇰 Denmark5.8%
10🇵🇹 Portugal6.1%
OECD Average11.6%

Notably, eight of the top 10 countries with the smallest gender pay gaps are located in Europe, as labor equality laws designed to target gender differences have begun to pay off.

The two other countries that made the list were Costa Rica (1.4%) and Colombia (1.9%), which came in third and fourth place, respectively.

How Did Luxembourg (Nearly) Eliminate its Gender Wage Gap?

Luxembourg’s virtually-non-existent gender wage gap in 2020 can be traced back to its diligent efforts to prioritize equal pay. Since 2016, firms that have not complied with the Labor Code’s equal pay laws have been subjected to penalizing fines ranging from €251 to €25,000.

Higher female education rates also contribute to the diminishing pay gap, with Luxembourg tied for first in the educational attainment rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index Report for 2023.

See More Graphics about Demographics and Money

While these 10 countries are well below the OECD’s average gender pay gap of 11.6%, many OECD member countries including the U.S. are significantly above the average. To see the full list of the top 10 OECD countries with the largest gender pay gaps, check out this visualization.

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