The gender pay gap in Europe is 17.4% this is a high percentage for so-called “developed countries. In 2007 the pay gap was 15% and so it has grown over the past 4 years. The gender pay gap has always been somewhat of a mystery as on average women seem to be better educated and so why are they not in fact the higher earners?
In 2007 the pay gap in both the UK and Germany sat at a higher percentage than the european average, this could have been argued that it was because both these countries have a higher percentage of women in part-time work, at that time both the UK and Germany had over 40% of women in part-time work compared to the EU average of 31.2%.
A report in the Independent newspaper in 2010 stated that the pay gap was in fact shown to be 18%. The UK was still out in front though with gap reaching as high as 21%. This caused great concern throughout Europe and these figures were seen to be simply unacceptable!
On the 8th of March 2011 the European Parliament approved a report which aims to cut the gender pay gap by 10% by 2020, this involved cutting the pay gap by 1% each year. This report had some worrying facts about how women are slowly sinking into poverty, showing that anywhere up to 22% of women over 65 are at risk of poverty. This is due to the ripple effect caused by the gender pay gap, if women are earning less while working it stands to reason that their pensions in turn will also amount to less during retirement. Statistics like this help to put the pay gap into real terms and it allows people to understand it is not simply about women earning less than men but also about women’s welfare. Single mother and elderly women are the ones who will suffer the most due to the pay gap, and are these not some of the more vulnerable people in our society?!
Hopefully the new report will work and we will see a 10% decrease in the gender pay gap by 2020!