gender_bigIn Europe, men will earn on average 16.2% more than women for doing exactly the same job. There is, of course, a great deal of variety in the pay gap from country to country: Estonia, for example, has the largest pay gap, with men earning on average 27.7% more than women, whilst in Slovenia men earn only 0.9% more.

gender-pay-gapThe pay gap is a topic we’ve already discussed briefly in a post last year, but we’ll be revisiting it again today as part of our week of posts on gender equality in Europe. We’ll be kicking things off with a comment sent in by Peter, who argued that:

Measures should be put in place to promote greater transparency in relation to pay rates, including in individual contracts.

It might help to know exactly what your co-workers are earning in order to close the pay gap, but wouldn’t that be a serious infringement of the privacy of your co-workers? We spoke to Arni Hole, Director General of the Departement of Family Affairs and Equality in Norway, to ask her what she thought about Peter’s suggestion:

hole-speaksI think transparency is a very good thing. In our business and working environment laws, we already have requirements of transparency to a certain extent… But we are right now thinking about strengthening this further.

We will be promoting a law proposal to the Norwegian Parliament this March, taking inspiration from the Danish experience in 2004-2005, when they produced a law saying there should be total transparency of pay rates for organisations above 50 employees.

Of course, no one can demand to know what you earn as an individual; it’s more about the structural payments per hour for equal positions with the same responsibilities and same requirements for education and so forth. The Danes did this quite well, and we are trying to follow-up with the same type of law.

We also had a reader question from Anna from Austria, who asked generally what could be done to close the pay gap. We put this question to Jana Smiggels Kavková, Chair of the Czech Women’s Lobby and Director of Fórum 50%, an NGO working to improve the representation of women in public life.

Next, we spoke to Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, to see what she would make of Peter’s suggestion for greater pay rate transparency:

Finally, we had a comment sent in from Eibe, questioning the idea that anything should be done to close the gender pay gap:

I don’t think that we should close the gender pay gap. We should leave that to market forces, which are more rational than political intervention.

How would Virginija Langbakk respond to Eibe’s point?

What do YOU think? Should pay rates for different jobs be made public? Or would that infringe on the right to keep these things private? Should governments even try to close the pay gap, or should they leave market forces to decide how much people are paid? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.



16 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. effie

    the payment of each employee is a private issue and i do not think that should be published. and further there are quite enough women who earn more money than men for the same position. equality in wages is not always a flat law which introduces the equality of sexes.

  2. catherine benning

    The only way this would change anything at all is to remove women as the front runner for employment. If you have to choose on an equal basis you choose the better candidate and mostly men are better employees. Men have less mood swings, less jealousy and more clubable in their presentation.

    The real reason more women are employed in the UK than men is, they cost less. It’s similar to immigrants. Lower pay so easier to exploit.

    Men cost more, or, did and that was reduced by the requirement of the feminist movement for ‘equal’ pay. So, employers stook the opportunity saying, fine, we will employ the cheap women and leave the men without a work. Simples.

  3. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Eu também estou de acordo o pagamento de cada funcionario seja M ou F é um assunto privado de cada funcionario o grande problema que se coloca hoje nas empresas é o assédio sexual e muitas mulheres aproveitam os seus chefes para atingir o sucesso no trabalho esse tabus devia acabar mas só acaba quando as pessoas tiverem outra mentalidade a esperança de novos caminhos é escolher o profissionalismo de cada candidato

  4. Efrossiny Exarchoulakou

    governments in cooperation with the employers should close the pay gap which exists for two genders of doing the same job. employers should understand that the equality issue is an essential part of economical and social life in the world and governments can help by explaining and taking measures in order to protect both genders from being opossite

  5. Jose Eduardo Melo

    The execution of tasks in a job has nothing to do with the type of sex worker.
    Or is it done well or done evil, nothing more.

  6. Pedro Celestino

    There should be a maximum wage/pay, then within the minimum/maximum pay people should be payed by how much/hard and how well they do their jobs.

    That said women should be able to do all jobs as well as any man, so the existing gap is probably old preconceptions and to many male CEOs and the like (those earn enough money to tip the balance, as they receive several hundred of payments if not more).

  7. Cristian Dinescu

    This is a False Flag. Of a communist nature. We don’t need more women as equally paid co-workers but more women involved in their specific activities where no man would be better. A man has to be paid as a man and a woman as a woman.

    • Ilinca

      ” A man has to be paid as a man and a woman as a woman.” Seriously? How backward and insulting can you get?! How about the kind of jobs (+90%) where women and men do just as well? Do women still have to be paid less in that case?

  8. Eduart Nano

    Hello and welcome ju uroj mirseardhjen dhe jeni te mirepritur per do problem e sqarim pergezoj M.B dhe ju uroj nepermjet saj Gezuar Festen gjith grave qe jan pjesmarese

  9. Paulo Barros Vale

    And give money to everybody even ifthey do not deserve it just because they are females???? Where is the dignity of that? Like quotas…

  10. Marcel

    Men earn 16% more than women for doing exactly the same job?

    Tickle-me-sceptical there. In fact, I do not believe it for one second.

    It probably means, ‘doing the same job on paper’. But in reality, there are difference in productivity, quality and quantity of work, hours of attendance, years of merit increases, part-time work and a few more factors.

    And another factor, maybe men negotiate for their salaries 16% better than women do (on average).

    It would not surprise me.

  11. nadia

    secondo il mio parere nn si dovrebbe fare paragone tra uomo e donna ma si dovrebbe avere un giusto stipendio, in base al lavoro che si fa’ , se il governo darebbe un o stipendio alla casalinga ,di cui f la moglie è madre ,e casalinga, lavora 24 ore su 24 nn si ferma mai ,xche’ se lavora fuori torna a casa e continua con i figli, a casa e tutto ,diciamo che è a dir poco pesante ,a star dietro tutto, invece l’uomo fa’ il suo lavoro è quando torna a casa toglie i pantaloni ed e finita la’ si butta su’ di un divano a finito il suo lavoro e basta ,anche se aiutasse a casa un po’ non fa’ le stesse cose di una donna , nn sono femminista ma la donna a bisogno anche dei suoi spazi ,dedicarsi un po’ a se stessi invece no siamo trascurate ,xche’ nn abbiamo mai tempo x noi , corriamo sempre per dare testa a tutto tutti ,allora x me sarebbe giusto che il governo in tnt aumenti i stipendi a tutte le famiglie xche’ il pane x i nostri figli e un diritto ,sono secoli che i lavori degli operai nn vengono aumentati siamo rimasti 40 dietro ,mentre all’estero e tutto migliore , tutto aumenta ma in italia gli stipendi degli autisti , urbani ,o la classe operaia si uccide xche’ con 1,200 euro devono pagarsi l’impossibile , e non posso fare piu’ la spesa xche’ anche quella aumentata peggio dei gioielli , è e una vergogna che i politici prendano 15,000 al mese e nn sono nemmeno sufficenti perche’ li usano male , nn voglio dire i particolare ma pensiamo che se mandassino un solo politico a casa , con lo stipendio che prendono loro di minimo 15000 euro dividendoli x 5 per di piu’ sfamerebbero gia ‘ piu’ famiglie e nn si ucciderebbe piu’ nessuno ,l’uomo marito e padre di famiglia a diritto in maggioranza al 1000% che debba avere uno stipendio sicuro , per sfamare e godersi ogni tnt pure la propia vita e piu’ di un diritto ,allora cose’ la cosa giusta si potrebbe parlaRE PER SECOLI MA IL MONDO RESTERA’ SEMPRE’ NELLE COSE CHE CONVENGONO SOLO A POCHI , MA SPERO CHE QUALCUNO SI SVEGLI E CAMBI TUTTO, XCHE’ CI SONO DONNE COME ME ,CHE SONO STANCHE , DI LAVORARE FUORI E DENTRO, SE CI FOSSE UNA LEGGE DI UN MINIMO STIPENDIO STAREI A CASA VOLENTIERI ,A GODERMI LA FAMIGLIA E ALLA CASA, NON SIAMO MACCHINE SIAMO UMANE , DONNE FORTI MA ANCHE SENSIBILI , CON BISOGNO PROPIO X SE STESSI , IO NN SO’ PIU’ COSA SONO FACCIO L’UOMO E LA DONNA SORELLA TUTTO, BASTA … SE CI SARANNO CAMBIAMENTI COME TUTTO SONO PRONTA AD EVOLVERMI è MIGLIORARE IN TUTTO.

  12. Shaye Wood

    The government should definently close the gender pay gap, a few of my friends mothers are single and can’t afford to keep paying rent and her house has gone into forclosure so she is going to have to live in a shelter pretty soon here. And no one will help her and her boss won’t give her a raise and he knows what is going to happen to her and her daughter

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