European Equal Pay Day 2020: Close the gap

November 4 is European Equal Pay Day, a day dedicated to remember the importance of ensuring equal pay for work of equal value in Europe and to close the gender pay gap.

Why to choose November 4th as the day to draw attention to the gender pay gap? The answer is very unfortunate: taking into consideration the current pay gap, women in Europe will work for free from this day until the end of the year.

The gender pay gap in the European Union is , on average, approximately 15%. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that this gap will widen, since women, who are overrepresented in precarious forms of work, are amongst those most hardly hit by the health and economic crisis.

CESI, as an organisation which puts gender equality at its heart – also beyond occupational aspects –, highlights the continued importance of achieving gender economic equality to empower women. In order to do so, CESI calls the EU institutions to deliver an efficient Pay Transparency Directive as soon as possible, fundamental to help bring about pay equality between men and women and thus to ensure equal treatment between women and men at the workplace.

CESI expects such a directive to set ambitious and binding standards for pay transparency which should be generally applicable to all employees and effective sanctions for those Member States who do not implement or enforce the directive.

Initiatives such as this one, on pay transparency, go hand in hand with other directives which are very important to close the pay, career and pension gaps, notably the EU’s Work-life Directive (which is now in its transposition phase in the member-states) and the Women on Boards Directive (which is, unfortunately, still in the negotiation phase and continues to be blocked by the Council).

It is important to raise awareness to this, so our societies can elevate the roles women play, since the gender pay gap is also a direct consequence of unpaid care and domestic work, which mostly falls on women.

To discuss these issues and more, CESI Secretary General, Klaus Heeger, recently hosted a conversation with the chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, MEP Evelyn Regner. Watch the full conversation here.