The Gender Pay Gap : starting from today and until the end of the year, French women will be working for free The overall pay gap has tended to decrease in many countries over the past forty years, yet, it has not closed; in some countries it has been stubbornly resistant, or has even widened. Despite the fact that one of the fundamental principles of the European Union enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 157) states that each EU Member State ‘shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is applied’, women in Europe earn almost 17 percent less annually than men. It means that they work without getting paid for roughly two months of the year.
Why is it so important to reduce the gender pay gap?
- It improves the profitability of the economy as a whole. Women have played an active part of the economic growth in our society, the underestimation and under-utilization of the ability is a loss of earning for the economy.
- It profits both the employer and the workers
- It encourages social justice and equal opportunities
The pay gap is not only a problem of discrimination; there are other policies that should be enhanced in order to have more gender equity at work.
There is a real need for additional legislation covering different areas in order to close the gender mat gap. We need tougher laws to justify pay differentials, and more transparent systems of remuneration in to strengthen those laws.
We also need more protection regarding childcare. There is still today an unequal sharing of the childcare and household responsibilities. One solution to solve this issue would be to make childcare a social right and offer it at subsidized prices.
Most of the countries have limited public subsidies and childcare services are supplied at high prices which affect the earning capacity of women negatively. The leave arrangements is also important, it should be equally divided between men and women.
Furthermore it is more than important to encourage young girls to consider a wider range of occupational options. Break down the occupational rigidities may be a solution to solve the unequal pay problem. Finally there are policy initiatives that have tried to improve the remuneration of low and/or female-dominated jobs by increasing the level of the minimum wage to a re-evaluation of low-paid jobs.
Despite the fact that European Commission have implemented some strategies in order to change the gap, the International Labour Organization – ILO – said that, at the current rate, gender pay equity will be reached in 2086 in other words a notice of termination of 70 years.
NB : Texte intégral: directive 2006/54/CE