EU Equal Pay Day 2018: At snail’s speed from November 3 to November 4

November 4 is EU Equal Pay Day. It symbolises the average wage gap between women and men across the EU Member States by commemorating the day on which the ‘average’ woman -in relation to the ‘average’ man- does not get paid anymore until the end of the year. In 2019, women have earned on average 16.0% less than men, which translates into 57 out of 365 days of the year until December 31. According to Kirsten Lühmann, President of CESI’s members’ Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, policy makers and authorities are not doing enough to close the gap.

It is true that the Equal Pay Day has shifted by one day, from November 3 to November 4, in comparison to 2018, 2017 and 2016. However, this progress of just one single gained day in 4 years shows just how slow progress towards wage equality is in Europe. Since the first EU Equal Pay Day in 2012, the pay gap between men and women in the EU has been stagnating between 17.5% and 16.0%. “On average, women continue to work almost 60 days for free year after year. Real progress is missing and this is just insufficient”, Kirsten Lühmann said.

In a joint statement issued in advance of this year’s EU Equal Pay Day, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Commissioners for Employment and for Justice, Marianne Thyssen and Věra Jourová, underlined that “pay transparency, combined with other solutions such as an equal distribution of caring responsibilities between women and men – enabled by new EU Directive on parental and carers’ leave – would help us tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap”, but acknowledged at the same time that “more needs to be done and faster.” According to Kirsten Lühmann, the incoming new European Commission needs to take on decisive measures.

She added: “I appreciate the new EU directive on work-life balance, and I very much welcome plans of the European Commission to look into more effective ways to ensure pay transparency in Europe. These are steps in the right direction, but work must not end until the gender pay gap is eliminated.”

CESI and its member organisations and affiliates will continue to stand up for quick and substantial progress.

Picture: Kirsten Lühmann © dbb 2019