Official statistics from the National Center for Development (NCD), affiliated with the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, highlighted the wide gender gap that exists in salaries between women and men in Kuwait. The data, made available last week, reiterated what local gender activists and international institutions such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) have long maintained.
Official figures from the NCD indicate a 30 percent disparity in salaries between male and female workers in the government sector. The report, based on June 2022 data from the labor market system, reveals that the average monthly wage for Kuwaiti women in the government sector stands at approximately KD1,327, compared to KD1,895 for their male counterparts. The World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report on Kuwait notes a significant widening of the wage gap during the periods 2006-2010 and 2012-2022, with marginal improvements in 2012, 2020, and 2021. Overall, the average percentage of equal wages for similar work between men and women is 67 percent in Kuwait, which is a 7 percent decline from 2006 to 2023.
The report emphasizes that the salary gap is not rooted in the fundamental salary structure based on job grades and qualifications but is evident in other benefits men receive, such as social allowances, promotions, and additional perks. Examining annual incomes, the average annual income for females in Kuwait is $25,597, compared to $53,640 for males, resulting in a 52 percent difference in favor of males over the period 2006-2022.
Kuwait’s global ranking in the overall Global Gender Gap Index published by the WEF has declined by 34 places since the index’s inception in 2006. The decline has mainly been in economic participation and opportunities, where it dropped by 46 places.
The summary of Kuwait’s performance in the index from 2006 to 2023 shows that the country fell by 46 places in the field of economic participation and opportunities; in the field of academic achievement the decline was 10 places; and in political empowerment, the country declined by 23 places. However, in the field of health and survival, Kuwait advanced by 18 spots.
The WEF report on gender gap, which has now been confirmed by the NCD, underscores the need for concerted efforts to address and rectify gender disparities in various domains in Kuwait.
The analysis of Kuwait’s standing, encompassing various fields and sub-indices, indicates a notable decline in the economic participation and opportunities sector. Since the inception of the index in 2006, Kuwait has experienced a significant drop of 46 places in this domain.
Notably, its most favorable performance occurred in 2020, achieving a score of 0.589 out of 1,000, signifying an average gender gap in this particular area. In 2023, Kuwait’s ranking reflects a downturn across most sub-indices related to economic participation and opportunities. However, there is a noteworthy improvement in the “percentage of equal wages between women and men for similar work” index, where Kuwait advanced by four places compared to the previous year.