1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Women's Employment in the Textile Manufacturing Sectors of Bangladesh and Morocco


Chapter 2: Wage discrimination by gender in Morocco's urban labour force: Evidence and implications for industrial and labour policy, by Saâd Belghazi with Sally Baden

The current study builds on the existing literature, in attempting to link the issue of gender-based wage discrimination to trade performance and competitiveness. It argues that the low-wage export strategy based on female labour that has been pursued in Morocco needs to be rethought if Morocco is to maintain its market share in textile export in the global economy. This is a challenge to the common view that wages are too high in Morocco to compete with new entrants such as China, India and Viet Nam.

To develop this argument, the chapter uses data from urban labour force surveys to estimate the extent of gender-based wage discrimination. It also attempts to identify the main determinants of gender-based wage differentials. Drawing on this empirical analysis, it hypothesizes a link between the declining competitiveness of Moroccan industry, declining productivity and gender discrimination in wages. It concludes with policy proposals designed to redress gender-based wage discrimination, thereby, it is argued, improving productivity, and, by extension, the competitiveness of Moroccan industry.

Section II provides the overall macroeconomic context for the study, covering the period 1980-93 and focusing on the competitiveness of Moroccan industry. The third section gives an overview of employment trends in the same period while the fourth specifically examines the feminization of manufacturing employment. The fifth section provides some data on wage differences by gender in urban labour markets. Theoretical explanations for wage discrimination by gender are reviewed (section VI) and then the methodology and results of the analysis of wage discrimination undertaken in Morocco are presented (section VII). These results are analyzed in some detail in section VIII, which identifies the factors explaining differences in wage levels by gender, as well as wage differentials, in urban Morocco. Section IX draws together policy conclusions and suggests fruitful areas for further research.

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