Teresa Bago d’Uva, associate professor of Health Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, made several appearances in the media in her homecountry Portugal regarding her research about inter and intragenerational social mobility. Within this study, the differences found between Portuguese men and women attracted most attention.
Bago d’Uva found that of Portuguese women born between 1970 and 1985, 45% were doing higher level jobs than their parents, compared to only 27% of men. This is partly explained by the greater progress in education of women: 48% of those born in this cohort, achieved a higher level of education than their parents, compared to only 33% of men. Social mobility of Portuguese women comes now close to that of European women, more than in the case of men. In contrast, among those born in 1940s, Portuguese men and women were equally likely to achieve more education (about 15%) and a higher level job (about 30%) than their parents.
Gender inequality in the job market
Considering that already in 1986 Portuguese women surpassed men for the first time in higher education enrolments and that last year they represented 55% of people who obtained a PhD, it is tempting to expect that soon they will also be overrepresented in top positions.
However, although they have grown more proportionally, female wages remain lower. In 2015, they earned on average 20% less than men, and the inequality is even more pronounced at top positions (28%).
Considering that Portugal is “an interesting country” from the point of view of female participation in the labour market”, Teresa Bago d’Uva does not risk anticipating the end of a gap in top positions, either in terms of presence or salary disparities. “It is impossible to say when it will disappear, even in a country like ours, with a high female participation in the labour market and where part-time work is not very common”, she told PÚBLICO, noting that “factors such as division of household and family tasks, and the impact of motherhood on career progression” might also still play an important role.