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Şahin, Fadime (2020) The Gender Wage Gap in Turkey's ICT Sector. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00035845

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Abstract

This thesis examines the extent, nature, causes and implications of the gender wage gap in the growing and value-creating ICT sector in Turkey. Although gender wage gap studies have focused on various levels of aggregation in Turkey – from the economy as a whole to particular sectoral and occupational settings – the ICT sector in Turkey remains largely understudied. This thesis undertakes a primary quantitative and qualitative data collection approach and utilises a unique database as part of its mixed methods approach. In particular, the workforce of Turkey’s top 500 ICT companies (based on turnover) in 2015 was targeted for both quantitative and qualitative data collection with employees and owners of these companies approached via LinkedIn. Online questionnaires and in-person semi-structured interviews with employees were carried out during the data collection process. The most commonly used gender wage gap decomposition, both the simple and extended Blinder-Oaxaca models, was employed to calculate the gender wage gap in the Turkish ICT sector. The results of the decomposition indicated that the gender wage gap is relatively low (23 percent) within the Turkish ICT sector compared to other wage gap studies conducted on the overall Turkish economy. The most striking result from the decomposition analysis is that the gender wage gap in technical positions is much lower than in non-technical positions within the sector. The thesis demonstrates that the causes of this difference in the gender wage gap between technical and non-technical occupations are linked to the conventional causes of the gender wage gap, not least labour market discrimination and occupational segregation, while traditional explanations, such as human capital supply-side theories, cannot explain the gaps observed. The thesis further analyses the causes of the gender wage gap within the sector by utilising both quantitative and qualitative data collected during fieldwork, revealing that women are wage-discriminated against as a result of discriminatory practices during hiring, motherhood and occupational segregation. Perceived direct or indirect costs of hiring women with and without children are found to be one of the major reasons for discrimination. The current marriage compensation law is another reason women are assessed not only on the basis of their qualifications, skills and experience but also their personal characteristics such as age, marital status, having children and so on. These factors decrease women’s bargaining power during wage negotiations. Moreover, occupational segregation exists in the sector with technical fields predominantly occupied by male professionals. Women who do work in the technical areas tend to fill jobs with lower technical skill requirements, such as consultancy, as opposed to engineering or software development. Finally, the thesis investigates the Turkish state’s role in relation to development of the ICT sector, women’s employment and gender equality while considering Turkey’s industrial strategies and how the gender pay gap in the sector may be perceived and addressed in policy terms. The thesis highlights that, despite the recent rhetoric stating support for the production of technological knowledge and innovation via various projects, increased R&D funding, and newly established technology development zones and incentive schemes, the role of the state in relation to ICT sector development, employment and gender equality remains neglected in reality. Overall, the thesis makes an important contribution to research on gender equality and economic growth in rapidly industrialising countries and sectors such as Turkey and its ICT industry. It reveals that gender pay gaps need to be understood and analysed alongside a country’s growth strategy and at the sectoral and occupational level. Thereby, the thesis contributes to the literature in three ways: (1) conducting a gender wage gap analysis in a currently understudied labour market setting, the Turkish ICT sector, which is a value-adding and fast-growing sector; (2) using mixed methods and collecting and analysing a novel quantitative and qualitative database, generated from nearly 2000 respondents; and (3) developing a richer understanding of the causes of the pay gap and how these need to be understood alongside sectoral and economy-wide developments rather than treated in isolation

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Hannah Bargawi
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00035845
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2021 14:37
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/35845
Funders: Other

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