WOMEN: EP stresses need for response to salary gap
Agence Europe

MEPs are urging the member states to do all in their power to reduce the salary gap between men and women, which is still around 16% on average in Europe. On Thursday 12 September, they adopted a resolution to this effect drafted by MEP Edit Bauer (EPP Slovakia). The salary gap also has long-term negative fallout for women on the employment market, their pension levels and exposure to poverty.

In this resolution, the MEPs regret the fact that progress in narrowing the gender pay gap in the European Union is going on “very slowly”. They call for Directive 2006/54/EC on this issue to be improved. In May of this year, Parliament adopted recommendations to the Commission to the same effect. Rapporteur Bauer laments the fact that nothing has so far been done about these recommendations. An oral question on the subject was also submitted by the chairman of the parliamentary committee on women's rights, Mikael Gustafsson (GUE, Sweden).

European Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding spoke on the subject at the debate preceding the vote on Monday 9 September, pointing out that there are economic, social and legal factors which go further than the figures in the relationship between equal salary for equal pay. She therefore takes the view that it is a multifaceted problem to be resolved by two or three legal articles in the European directive. The facts show that the law can be written, but not correctly applied, she said.

This is why Bauer is also calling directly on the member states to reduce the salary gaps by at least five percentage points a year between now and 2020. A central premise is that reducing the salary gap is ultimately an investment. According to a study prepared by Parliament, reducing the salary gap by one percentage point could boost growt

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