European Commission launches two-year plan to tackle gender pay gap

gender pay gap

The European Commission has published a report detailing its proposed plan to tackle the gender pay gap in Europe.

The EU Action Plan 2017-2019, Tackling the gender pay gap, which has been issued to the European Parliament, The Council and the European Economic and Social Committee, reports that women in the EU earn, on average, over 16% less per hour then men, with just 5% of chief executive officer (CEO) roles in the European Union being held by women.

It also revealed that 69% of European employees are aware of a gender pay gap, however, most employees do not believe a gender pay gap exists in their organisation. Yet the European Commission reports that across all sectors, on average men are paid more than women.

To reduce the gender pay gap, the European Commission has recommended: investing in work-life balance polices including flexible-working arrangements with flexible working hours, reducing working hours and encouraging remote working.

The report also looks at sectors with a low level of female workers. When cross-referenced with the number of women graduating in these sectors, it has found that just 28% of female graduates have degrees in engineering, manufacturing and construction, and 21% in computing.

The European Union is keen to attract more women to seek careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors to help bridge the gap.

To tackle the gender pay gap, the European Commission has also put together an eight-point strategy plan which will work towards:

  • Improving the application of the equal pay principle.
  • Combating segregation in occupations and sectors.
  • Breaking the ceiling: initiatives to combat vertical segregation.
  • Tackling the care penalty.
  • Better valorizing women’s skills, efforts and responsibilities.
  • Fighting the fog: unveiling inequalities and stereotypes.
  • Alerting and informing about the gender pay gap.
  • Lending hands: enhancing partnerships to tackle the gender pay gap.

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The gender pay gap remains a major objective for the European Union, with the overarching goal of achieving gender equality and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

The commission plans to evaluate and report regularly on gender pay, earnings and the pension gap in Europe within its annual report.