What is the gender pay gap?
The gender pay gap is defined as the relative difference in the average gross earnings of women and men within the economy as a whole.
Differences between EU countries
There are considerable differences between EU countries, with the gender pay gap ranging from less than 8% in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia to more than 20% in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia and United Kingdom.
Eurostat publishes regularly updated information on the gender pay gap situation in EU.
Factors influencing the pay gap
Since it only concerns salaried people, the gender pay gap is not an indicator of the overall inequality between women and men.
The gender pay gap must be looked at along with other indicators linked to the labour market, in particular those that reflect the different working patterns of women.
In countries where the female employment rate is low (e.g. Italy), the pay gap is lower than average. This may be a reflection of the small proportion of low-skilled or unskilled women in the workforce.
A high pay gap is usually characteristic of a labour market that is highly segregated, meaning that women are more concentrated in a restricted number of sectors and/or professions (e.g. Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland), or in which a significant proportion of women work part-time (e.g. Germany and Austria).
The institutional mechanisms and systems on wage setting can also influence the pay gap.
European Equal Pay Day
Every year the Commission marks the European Equal Pay Day with Europe-wide information activities to reach out to Member States on the link between pay, earnings and pension entitlements in old age. European Equal Pay Day draws attention to the size and general inertia of the gender pay gap, as well as its underlying causes.
Why the European Equal Pay Day is in November
The gender pay gap in the EU still averages around 16%. The European Equal Pay Day date is calculated on this Eurostat figure and symbolizes when women across the EU would stop earning for the rest of the year in comparison to men.