different wages

Women’s Earnings



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Video: Women Earn Less than Men




Why do women earn less?

It’s not a myth: Women’s wages remain low, while men’s climb higher and higher.

This is Eva. In Germany, she earns 21% less than a man. And she has a far less chance of obtaining a company car.

But where does the difference come from?

Let’s look back a couple of decades.

In the wake of the Second World War, in Germany, there was a shortage of men. And women had to take on hard work.

Their fight for just wages was particularly loud. Women demanded equal pay — and they were successful.

Then came the Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle. The traditional gender roles returned with a vengeance.

In West Germany, at least, Eva could remain a housewife, and stay home to take care of the kitchen, the kids and her husband.

Both socially and legally, men were seen as the only breadwinners. This role division continued for decades.

And it continues to affect employment today.

Eva chose a typical “woman’s” job: working in a human resources department.

Careers in IT, the natural sciences and high-tech didn’t interest her.

The problem is, the typical woman’s work is paid less. Nurses and caregivers often earn less than a truck mechanic for example.

In addition, Eva interrupted her career to raise a family . . . and later only worked half-days.

She’d never sit in the boss’s chair.

A vicious circle.

Researchers have determined that she would have to work 170 years to experience the day when equal pay is finally a reality. At the present rate of change, Eva would earn as much as a man in the year 2187.


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1. On average, men earn more than women. True or false?

2. Has it always been like this? What happened during and after World War Two?

3. Did this situation remain the same or did it change?

4. What are the traditional gender roles? Describe the traditional gender roles?

5. Are there “typical” male and female occupations? Are the wages similar or are they different?

6. Might single or childless women be more successful in their careers?

7. According to the video, the government can improve career prospects for women. Yes or no?


A. Does any of the information come as a surprise to you, or is it “common sense”?

B. Is there a division of labor among males and females in your company or organization?

C. Is there gender discrimination?

D. Has there been women’s rights movements in your country?

E. What will happen in the future?

F. Is there a solution to the imbalance? Should there be a solution?

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