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Equal pay index for men and women: the performative power of quantification conventions

Abstract : Several methods of calculation may be used to quantify the gender pay gap. The sociology of quantification shows how the construction of indicators may be employed to define certain notions. Literature on the performativity of quantification also highlights the effect that acts of calculation can have upon reality. This article combines these fields as it examines the illocutionary performative power of the “equal pay index”, which was developed by the French government in 2018, and which companies are legally obliged to publish on an annual basis. The article therefore draws on different types of documents: leaflets explaining the construction of the index, government‐issued communications, statements given by members of the government and companies’ own communications. With the aid of this index, the government can provide more precise definitions of the notion of equal pay and the field of action of companies. The novelty and benefits of the current case lie in the pairing of a relatively classic tool for commensuration and a subject—equal pay—that has suffered from a vague definition for decades. Furthermore, this article offers a conjoint study of the manner in which the index is built and the emerging discourse around it.
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Contributor : Clotilde Coron <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 20, 2020 - 11:21:19 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:38 AM




Clotilde Coron. Equal pay index for men and women: the performative power of quantification conventions. Gender, Work and Organization, 2020, 27 (6), pp.1418-1437. ⟨10.1002/gwao.12511⟩. ⟨halshs-02902702⟩



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