Equal pay for equal work, or work of equal value, has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957. Yet today the average pay gap between men and women is 16% in the EU. Across EU countries and occupations, the figures vary widely.
PES Women President Zita Gurmai said: “Gender equality is not a game. The gender pay gap is not a game. Europe needs to raise the stakes on equal pay. We cannot allow people to overlook this blatant inequality.”
“Today we are launching our Not a Game campaign to highlight this issue and how we can correct it. The wide-ranging consultation the European Commission is holding on its Gender Equality Strategy is very welcome. Now the Commission must heed the many voices who are demanding action on the gender pay gap. The EU needs to introduce binding targets to close the gap by 2030, criteria for assessing work of equal value, gender pay gap audits and other binding pay transparency measures, as well as sanctions for non-compliance. With this approach we can drive the gender pay gap down to zero, so all men and women in Europe are paid the same amount for the same work. This is the fair deal women deserve.”
Not a game
Not a Game uses the familiar mirror-image design of playing cards to highlight jobs where gender based pay discrimination is particularly high. Kings, queens and jacks in the specially designed deck depict male and female workers in jobs with some of the largest pay gaps in Europe.
These cards are a game – but the gender pay gap is not. Airline pilots, those working in food production, healthcare professionals, welders/metal workers are among the professions where women earn significantly less than their male counterparts in some European countries.
Not a Game is presented on European Equal Pay Day (27 February), which marks the point when women finally catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. Women need to work the equivalent of an additional 58 days, or 16% of the year, to earn the same amount as their male colleagues.
Behind the pay gap
Pay discrimination is only one factor behind the gender pay gap. On top of this, higher paid professions are dominated by men, and women’s pay is negatively affected by greater care responsibilities and higher uptake of parental leave. Additionally, sexual harassment and discrimination in hiring and promotion create barriers for women, which negatively affect their earning potential. Gender can also intersect with other social factors, such as age, race, and disability, which further compounds the pay gap.
It’s time to put the cards on the table – a lack of comprehensive EU-level data prevents a proper analysis of the gender pay gap. National level reporting varies in its frequency and detail.
Europe needs pay transparency legislation. This must include set criteria for assessing work of equal value, gender pay gap audits, and sanctions for non-compliance. Greater transparency is a vital first step to reduce the pay gap, supporting gender mainstreaming across all areas of government, particularly labour market policies. Finances for gender-specific data collection must be made available.
With the right measures, the gender pay gap could be eliminated by 2030. PES Women is looking forward to seeing binding measures to promote equal pay in the upcoming EU Gender Equality Strategy.
Gender Pay Gap and pension gap in Europe
The average gender pay gap in Europe is 15.7%. This is the difference in average gross hourly wage between men and women across the economy.
The average gender gap in pensions in Europe is 30.1%. This measures the differences in pensions between women and men (65 years or over).
Below you find the gender pay gap (Eurostat, 2018) and the gender gap in pensions (Eurostat, 2018) in percentages per state.
A limited-edition deck of campaign playing cards will be available around 8 March.
Kings, queens and jacks in the specially designed set depict male and female workers in jobs with some of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe.