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On 3 November 2018, Equal Pay Day, EFFAT reflects on why women‘s significant progress in terms of educational achievements and career possibilities does not correspond to gender parity and equal pay at the work place.

16,2%: this is the current gender pay gap in Europe, defined as the difference between male and female earnings as a percentage of male earning. Data like these speak loud about the fragmentation of the labour market, rising precarious work and inequality, work/life imbalance and in-work and long-term poverty for women in older age.

EFFAT sectors, food, tourism and agriculture, echo these trends: In the survey on the implementation of the EFFAT Gender Equality Plan carried out in 2014, member organisations reported that the pay gap in the EFFAT sectors is up to 29 %, and can represent a difference of up to 290 000 € in salary over a whole working life.

The factors behind the pay gap are multiple: women more often work part-time, they work in lower paid sectors and functions, or often have to take the primary responsibility for care of their families. According to the latest Eurobarometer, work-life imbalance of families is well perceived by Europeans.

In its “Recommendations on Equal Pay”, EFFAT speaks strongly in favour of closing the gender pay gap in order to:

  • promote social justice and equal opportunities through the promotion of women’s independence and a more cohesive society
  • benefit employers and workers through the creation of quality jobs which turns into employee satisfaction and higher productivity
  • give greater profitability to the economy as a whole

Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General, commented on Equal Pay Day : “The principle of equal pay is one of the foundations of our trade union activity as is collective bargaining. Making pay equality integral to wage setting is key to reach a more equal society. Raising awareness of the gender pay gap in collective bargaining teams, increasing of wages in female dominated sectors are vital to reach a fairer more equal labour market. Alongside, we urge the European Commission to adopt a strong Work Life Balance Directive in the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights as one step to promote the professional development of women and reduce the pay gap’