Gender pay gap is still a problem in Europe

The gender pay gap, or the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the EU, is currently 16.2%, according to the latest figures released today by the European Commission. The figure has remained unchanged for the last year.

The Commission’s report suggests that the biggest problem in fighting the EU pay gap is the practical application of equal pay rules and the lack of legal action brought by women to national courts.

"With laws guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, equality in the workplace and minimum rights to maternity leave, gender equality is a European achievement. But there is still a way to go to full gender equality. The pay gap is still large and it is not budging,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.

“To make things worse: much of the change actually resulted from a decline in men’s earnings rather than an increase for women. The principle of equal pay for equal work is written in the EU Treaties since 1957. It is high time that it becomes a reality in the workplace as well," she added.

The report has confirmed that the effective application of the equal pay principle is hindered by the lack of transparency in pay systems, the lack of clear benchmarks on pay equality, and by a lack of clear information for workers that suffer inequality.

Increased wage transparency could improve the situation of individual victims of pay discrimination who would be able to compare themselves more easily to workers of the other sex.

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