|Klaus van der Kroft|
In order to provide a broader perspective (since it appears most of the discussion is done from the point of view of solely the US reality), here in Chile man-woman average income disparity currently sits at about 18%, up from 13% in 2003 and down from 20% in 2012 (movement consistent with the economic downturn). For self-employed people, it sits at 7.3%.
The biggest disparity happens in mining regions, where it can reach up to 52%, whereas in regions dominated by the service and agriculture industries (almost every other region that doesn't have mining operations) is drops to the 6-15% range. In the most populated region (Metropolitan Region, which accounts for about 40% of the national population), disparity is at 15%.
There are two factors often cited as for why this difference happens:
1.- Mining activities are male-dominated jobs, primarily because very few women apply for them. And since they are the highest-paying non-executive jobs in the country, they tend to skew the average.
2.- Even though about 56% of the jobs created within the last 15 years have been occupied by women and that universities are currently enrolling more female students than male ones (except in the engineering and scientific fields), female workers on average have access to lower-paying job as a result of the lower level of preparation that women born before the 1980's had, which in turn was directly correlated to the predominant role of women in the family.
Interestingly, while inherent factors to the female population do make female workers more risky and expensive (we have mandatory 6-month postnatal paid leaves and any company with 15+ female employees is obligated to have daycare facilities or pay the women to send their children to one), these are factors that do not directly influence wage, but rather the likelihood of getting hired. However, this effect is primarily seen in low-paying jobs (for small companies tend to avoid hiring too many females in order to stay below the 15 margin), so in fact this phenomenon actually increases the average income of the female working population (as most medium-to-large companies pay above minimum wage even for the lowest jobs, and generally have some kind of either union or prestation arrangement to deal with the other requirements of the law).
So while historical female discrimination still has a noticeable effect on the average income of women in Chile (admitedly a small sample, as we're less than 18 million heads), actual discrimination today has very little effect in determining how much a female worker makes (if anything, the discrimination is more prevalent in the very high-paying jobs of traditionally male-dominated CEO positions).