Event: Is the Shortage of Skilled Workers Narrowing the Gender Pay Gap?

Is now the time for women to close the wage gap?




28. FEBRUARY 2023



There are a lot of undesirable developments that can be traced back to the market-liberal experiments of the past decades – from the drifting apart of rich and poor to a slipping globalization. At first glance, the fact that women are still paid less does not seem to be one of them. At the very least, old role models do not count toward what market-liberal models prescribe. Market-liberal economists would always find it good if more women were in paid forms of employment. And: Those who perform and are productive should also be rewarded – regardless of gender.

Nonetheless – the fact that equal pay is still far out of reach after a few decades of the market model – and that women in Germany still get almost 20 percent less money for their work on average – probably has something to do with this era. Accordingly, a large part of today’s disparity has to do with the fact that many more women also work part-time, often in the low-wage sector where hourly wages are lower per se – and which has only existed since the heyday of the dogma of the wonderfully deregulated labor markets. Quite apart from the fact that a lot of the work that women do is not paid for on the market at all.

Does the market at least now work in favor of women, when there is an increasing shortage of skilled workers – and the bargaining power of employees is growing? Is now the hour of women to close the wage gap? By the invisible hand of the market, so to speak? This thesis was recently put forward by author and demography expert Margaret Heckel. Or are there some other structural reasons and old role models behind the unequal pay after all? We’ll soon be discussing this with Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus, among others – at our panel on the gender pay gap on March 14 in Berlin. Live and in presence. On the panel alongside the minister and the author: DIW gender researcher Katharina Wrohlich, supervisory board member Susanne Menne and journalist Sabine Rennefanz.

Register for the event: here.  



The rising gap between rich and poor has become a threat to social cohesion in most rich countries. To reverse this trend it will be crucial to better understand the importance of different drivers of income and wealth inequality.