Representation in United Kingdom

Gender pay gap: UK women earn 20.8% less than men


Gender pay gap

Women in the UK earn on average 20.8%* an hour less than men, according to figures released by the European Commission which rank the UK with the fifth highest gender pay gap in the EU.  The EU average is 16.3%. The data comes ahead of "Equal Pay Day" on 3 November interpreted as the day women stop being paid whilst men continue to earn until the end of the year.  In effect, this means women work for free for two months a year.


The EU gender pay gap figures also detail the overall gender earnings gap in the UK stands at 45% ** (EU average is 39.6%).  This is the difference between the average annual earnings between women and men taking into account disadvantages faced by women: lower hourly earnings, working fewer hours in paid employment and lower employment rates (ie career breaks to take care of children or relatives).

In a joint statement issued today First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioners Marianne Thyssen and Věra Jourová said:

"Gender equality, including equal pay for men and women, is one of the EU's founding values. But it is still far from a reality. For the past years, the gender pay gap has basically refused to budge.

We urgently need to make progress with this stubborn issue, which affects women and our societies on many other points: Women still tend to work in lesser-paid sectors, get fewer promotions and are underrepresented in management positions. And single-parent households with women as the sole breadwinner are more exposed to poverty, including child poverty and consequent disadvantages."

What next?

In the coming weeks the European Commission will step-up ongoing work and announce a new action plan to tackle the gender pay gap.

On 21 November the Commission will host a colloquium on fundamental rights: 'Women's Rights in Turbulent Times'.  Part of the programme will be dedicated to finding new solutions to tackle the gender pay gap.

The European Pillar of Social Rights will be recognised at the highest level at the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth on 17 November in Gothenburg. The pillar confirms the EU's commitment to ensure gender equality and contains 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems to achieve better working and living conditions in Europe.


EU gender pay gap national factsheets   

Factsheet:  What is the EU doing for women's rights and gender equality?

*   Eurostat 2015

**  Eurostat 2014