March 5 is European Equal Pay Day which serves to remind us all that a gender pay gap still exists within every single European country.
The date, March 5, has been selected to symbolise how many more days into the year 2011 women must work simply to earn the same amount that men have earned in 2010 for doing similar work. In supporting the European Equal Pay Day, EI is affirming the right of all workers to be paid an equitable wage, regardless of their gender, and aims to support its member unions overcome this discrimination within employment. EI is encouraging teacher unions and organisations around the world to collect solid evidence of gender pay inequality, and to coordinate lobbying action that will secure government commitments to implementing pay equity, particularly in times of economic hardship, where it is evident that women experience more discrimination. EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, says: “It is not acceptable that across Europe women continue to earn an average of 17,5 per cent less than men for doing equal work, while in some countries the gender pay gap is widening even further.” “The gender pay gap has a critical impact on women’s lifetime earnings and pension prospects. Earning lower pay means having a lower pension, and that causes a higher risk of older women being locked into cycles of poverty.” For further information on EI’s Pay Equity Now campaign or to download campaign tools, please go to: www.ei-ie.org/payequitynow.