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Wage gaps between women and men are beginning to narrow, as are differences in the number of hours they work, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University.

The study compared income distribution among women to income distribution among men and investigated the changes that occurred during the 1990s and the early years of this century. It found that in the 1980s, the gender wage gap stood at 45 percent, but in 1997, it was 42 percent, and in 2005, it narrowed to 38 percent.

The study also revealed that when measured on an hourly basis, the wage gap is narrower than generally believed. On a monthly basis, women earn 38 percent less than men. Measured on an hourly basis, however, the difference is only 15 percent.

When it comes to the number of hours worked, however, the gender gap is still relatively large: Women work fewer hours on average, apparently because responsibility for managing the home and caring for children falls mainly on their shoulders.

The study found that in fields dominated by women, such as certain government offices, wages are generally higher than the average wage, but substantially lower than those of men in the same profession. In addition, it found that the level of education does not reduce wage inequality between the genders.

The study was conducted by Tamar Rotem, a student of industrial engineering and management, under the supervision of Professors Edna Schechtman and Shlomo Yitzhaki. It will be presented tomorrow at a conference of the university's Faculty of Engineering Sciences, which will be attended by research and development personnel from some of the country's largest companies, managers of venture capital firms and entrepreneurs.