EU Equal Pay Day 2017: No progress

November 3 is EU Equal Pay Day - again. It symbolises the wage gap between women and men. A gap of 16.4% in the EU. A gap according to which the 'average' woman does not get paid anymore as of today - until the end of the year. And: Last year's EU Equal Pay Day was also on November 3, which means that no progress has been achieved since then. According to Kirsten Lühmann, President of CESI's Commission on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, policy makers and authorities are just not doing enough to bring about change.

EU Equal Pay Day 2017: No progress

In its recently published 2017 Gender Equality Index, the European Institute for Gender Equality in Vienna confirms that progress towards gender equality happens -at all levels and including in the field of pay- at snail pace. Since the first EU Equal Pay Day in 2012, the pay gap between men and women in the EU has been staggering between 17.5 and 16.2%. “On average, women continue to work almost 60 days for free year after year. Real progress is missing and this is just insufficient”, said Kirsten Lühmann.

In a joint statement on today’s Equal Pay Day, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Commissioners for Employment and for Justice, Marianne Thyssen and Věra Jourova, underlined that the European Commission wants to lead the way to fight against pay discrimination and announced an EU action plan to tackle the gender pay gaps in Europe. This action plan should certainly include new measures because current instruments are obviously not enough.

Ms Lühmann added: “It is also high time that the national governments finally take gender equality seriously. The EU alone cannot solve the problem. Under the new European Pillar of Social Rights, women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value. All national governments are bound to realise this in their countries when the Estonian Council Presidency will sign on their behalf and with their stated support an according Proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Right at the Gothenburg Social Summit on November 17.”

Picture: Kirsten Lühmann © CESI 2017