EU Equal Pay Day 2018: Again on November 3

November 3 is EU Equal Pay Day. It symbolises the average wage gap between women and men across the EU Member States by commemorating the day on which the ‘average’ woman -in relation to the ‘average’ man- does not get paid anymore until the end of the year. In 2018, women earned on average 16.2% less than men, which translates into 58 out of 365 days of the year until December 31. According to Kirsten Lühmann, President of CESI’s members’ Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, policy makers and authorities are not doing enough to close the gap.

EU Equal Pay Day 2018: Again on November 3

Indeed, in 2017 and 2016 the EU Equal Pay Day was also on November 3. In 2015, it was on November 2. This shows just how slow progress towards wage equality is in Europe. Since the first EU Equal Pay Day in 2012, the pay gap between men and women in the EU has been stagnating between 17.5% and 16.2%. “On average, women continue to work almost 60 days for free year after year. Real progress is missing and this is just insufficient”, Kirsten Lühmann said.

In a joint statement issued in advance of this year’s EU Equal Pay Day, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Commissioners for Employment and for Justice, Marianne Thyssen and Věra Jourová, underlined that “We cannot accept this situation any longer”, but acknowledged at the same time that “There is no instant solution to fix this inequality.” According to Kirsten Lühmann, resignation can be no excuse for inactivity on policy makers.

She added: “I welcome the announcement made this week by the European Commission to pursue an evaluation of the Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. But work must not end with an evaluation. What is needed is swift real action. Trade unions have stressed for long that binding rules, for instance on pay transparency, can be very effective tools to mitigate pay discrimination.”

CESI and its member organisations and affiliates will continue to stand up for quick and substantial progress to close the gap.

Picture: Kirsten Lühmann © CESI 2018