Gender Pay Gap - Shut it! Day of action

21 February 2007

The Party of European Socialists is holding a day of action - tomorrow - on equal pay for women and men.

Why on February 22?

The PES has declared Feb 22 Equal Pay Day because women have to work until February 22 to earn what men earned last year! On average across the EU the gender pay gap is 15 per cent - meaning that to earn what the average EU man earns in a year the average women has to work for a year plus another 15 per cent of a year.

Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women, said "The 15 per cent pay gap between women and men is an insult to women. How can Europe expect to attract more women into work - which is the aim of the EU's Lisbon strategy - when women are so under-valued. The problem is not only women being paid less then men for the same job - after all that has been illegal for years - it is the fact that more women work part-time, work in the lower-paid public and care sectors, and do not get into managerial and other senior positions. The underlying issue is that not enough is done to enable women to combine work and family duties, and not enough is done to encourage men to take a fairer share of family duties."     

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the PES said "Equality between women and men is an important principle. It is about enabling today's family to find their own way to earn enough money and take care of all their family members. Many families find themselves in the absurd position where the man is spending too much time in the workplace and the woman not enough. One obvious answer is to increase pre-school childcare, but there is a also a need for a wider review of employment practices and Government policies."

Equal pay legislation has been in place for years: The Treaty of Rome, celebrating its 50 anniversary next month, refers to equal pay for equal work and Directives on Equal Pay have been EU law since the mid 1970s. But banning sex discrimination in pay has not banished the gender pay gap.

Julian Scola, Communications Advisor - Media & Campaigns
Party of European Socialists
Rue du Trône, 98
B-1050 Brussels
Mobile +32 486 117 394

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