Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day - is there anything to celebrate? Musings on (lack of) equal pay.

Happy International Women's Day to all Women!

Unfortunately, for many of us this day cannot be greated with enthusiasm since while it is supposed to let us celebrate the power of women, we are all too aware that the position of women is still not as strong as men on the labor market. While consumers in the European Community are seen as weaker parties, in general, the position of female consumers is the weakest. Recent research had shown that women in the EU still earn significantly less (17.5% on average) than men. Vivianne Reding noticed that this means that women would have to work two months more in a year to earn as much as men do. Who needs holidays, right?

The scary fact is that in the past 15 years this gap had not been closing at all. This means that while we all realize that women are being discriminated against in the labor market, there is not much being done to prevent it - aside it being a subject of many politician's speeches and debates. And again, the European Commission wants to initiate a series of public-awareness campaigns to address this problem. Why not actually take some legislative/administrative measures to prevent this discrimination, though? Haven't we talked about it enough already? I think on this day, more than ever, certain specific steps should be taken and not just more empty promises be given. Let's talk about revision of the EU Directive on equal pay, for example, since obviously it has failed to achieve its aim. Let's talk about introducing quotas for women on higher administrative/business positions both in public and private sector. It's a bit ironic if the European Commission starts demanding this measures, though, taking into account that only 9 out of 27 European Commissioners are women...

Discussion of the report may be found here. To find more on the 5th of March as the first European Equal Pay Day - go here. Press release of the EC - go here. Gender pay gap campaign - more information may be found here.

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