Ireland could close gender pay gap in 15 years

The country has struggled with the issue since the death of the Celtic Tiger...

Ireland's gender pay gap stands at 14.8%, according to the latest data on the difference in median pay between men and women.

However, PwC's new Women In Work Index 2017 found that if the gap continues to close at its current rate, it will be non-existent by 2032.

Despite the Celtic Tiger helping to shrink the wage gap from its 19.7% level in 2000 to a 8.3% low in 2012, the disparity has increased again in recent years.

Some movement in the right direction between 2014 and 2015 has not helped Ireland's ranking when it comes to female economic empowerment.

Ireland is the 25th most successful OECD nation in that regard – the same spot it occupied at the turn of the century.

Its 14.8% gap (looking at data up to and including 2015) compares to an OECD average of 16%. The UK had a 16.9% disparity overall in 2015, although Northern Ireland had the smallest difference (6%) on a regional basis.

Iceland, Sweden and Norway occupy the first three spots on the index in that order.

While there is plenty of work to be done, Ireland could quickly make up that ground.

The country is one of just five nations expected to close the gender pay gap within 20 years.

Based on the current rate of convergence, Ireland should achieve that goal by 2032, behind Poland (2021), Luxembourg (2022) and Belgium (2028). Greece will do so by 2033.

The UK could take as long as 2041 to catch up, while women in the US will be waiting until 2070.

The index is a weighted average that employs measures such as equality of earnings, the access women have to employment opportunities and job security.

PwC also found that the country's boardrooms only had an 18% female presence as of 2015.

When it comes to the upper echelons of business, the proportion of female directors in Ireland fell from 10% to 9% between 2000 and 2013. That situation has improved, rising from 2014.