European Equal Pay Day: Gender Pay Gap stagnates at 16.4%
For the second year in a row, Equal Pay Day – marking the extra number of days that women would need to work in one calendar year to match the amount earned by men – falls on February 28. The gender pay gap – the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the entire economy – has barely moved in recent years and still stands at around 16%.
"The pay gap has only narrowed marginally in recent years. To make things worse, the very slight decreasing trend for the past years is largely a result of the economic crisis, which has seen men's earnings decrease, rather than women's earnings increase," said Vice-President Viviane Reding.
This is the fourth time the Equal Pay Day takes place at European level: following its launch by the Commission on 5 March 2011. The latest figures show an average 16.4% gender pay gap in 2012 across the European Union, the same as the year previously. This points to stagnation, after only a slight downward trend in recent years, with the figure around 17% or higher in previous years.
Increased wage transparency could improve the situation of individual victims of pay discrimination who would be able to compare themselves more easily to workers of the other gender.
The Commission is currently looking at options for action at European level to improve pay transparency and thereby tackle the gender pay gap, helping to promote and facilitate effective application of the principle of equal pay in practice. Vice-President Reding said: "Following years of inaction, it is time for a change. The European Commission is currently working on an initiative to trigger change, so that in the near future we will no longer need an Equal Pay day."