[Brussels, 08 March 2012] The President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz opened the meeting saying: “The gender pay gap is a humiliation.” And this humiliation is persistent: Though last year’s estimates of 17 % around this time dropped to figures between 16-17 % in 2012 the sad truth is that there has been only little improvement since 1975 when Europe got its first legislation on equal pay.
The indisputable fact is that no country in Europe is free from this tangible proof of gender inequality and that the progress is slow or even at a standstill.
Researcher Agneta Stark put a different light on the gender pay gap and it links to education. She explained that the fact that women are at present in a majority in tertiary education is due to the fact that young men may not feel that they need tertiary education as they have access to better jobs and higher salaries evne without it!
The international women’s day offered no promises of concrete political action for Europe, but Commissioner Reding declared that she intends to publish a report in 2013 with the results of recent year’s monitoring of member state performance in this area. She made it clear that she expects all stakeholders to be involved in the push for real change.
In this connection it is worth mentioning that the prerequisite for European women’s organisations to mobilise pressure, namely basic funding, was dealt with at another hearing this week; an issue which EWL is monitoring ever more closely.