Why are women still earning less than men?

The principle of equal pay for work of equal value is stated in the European Treaties since 1957. However, in EU, women are still earning less than men for the same positions, whether we are talking about a high-skilled or a low-skilled job.

Although in general figures are getting better as years go by, women still earn in average less 14,1% than man in the European Union. In other words, this means that, in 2020, for every EUR a man earned, women only made 86 cents. Women work for free almost two months a year, compared to men. In the United States. reality is pretty much the same. A woman makes 81 cents for every dollar men earn.

Learn more about gender pay gap in European Union

 

WHY GENDER PAY GAP HAPPENS?

First, because work organization still tends to put women on lower paid sectors, such as as care and education, and men on better-paid sectors, like science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Then, house and family care are still more associated with women, who tend to have less free time for a payed job, as they are busy with personal affairs that could also be taken care by men. For example, it’s still very rare to see a father take a bigger part of the parental leave than the mother, and organizations and employers take that for granted.

We also have less women in top hierarchy positions to break the chain. In EU, less than 10% of top companies’ CEOs are women.

Last but not least, discrimination still pays a role. A lot of employers look at women as weaker or less fit or less worthy than a man, so they often pay them less for the exact same position.

 

WHAT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS?

Studies show that, despite the pay gender gap, women are also more willing to be affected by the pandemic, when we talk about work. Specially mothers, as many schools are closing. Society tends to put on women the burden of childcare and home care, and for female workers, it’s specially hard to find an healthy work life balance in the coronavirus age. Therefore, they are more exposed to lay-offs and unemployment.

 

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Below you will find a list of actions that individuals and organizations can do to help closing the gender pay gap:

  • Include women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions
  • When hiring, rather than relying only on interviews, ask candidates to perform tasks they would be
    expected to perform in the role they are applying for
  • As women are less likely to negotiate their pay, give salary ranges instead of fixed values to make them more willing to negotiate
  • Have transparency in promotion, pay and reward processes
  • Promote diversity in your work environment
  • Promote workplace flexibility
  • Encourage shared parental leaves