The EU Commission is starting a Gender Pay Gap Campaign 2010 in order to do something about the fact that in European countries, women earn over 17% less than men for every hour worked.
The campaign will address the following questions:
- How is gender equality perceived in the EU?
- Is the EU doing enough?
- What are priority areas for action?
According to the announcement, in 1975 an Equal Pay Directive has been implemented in all Member States, which makes pay discrimination on the grounds of sex illegal. If there is still such substantial gap, then it is good that action will be undertaken. I just wonder what they are going to actually do about it, but let’s hope that that will become clearer soon.
The following quote from the announcement puzzled me though (emphasis added):
Against the current economic backdrop, gender equality has a key role to play in boosting competitiveness, economic recovery and growth. Only by employing all the smart brains and committed workers that Europe has will the EU make a successful exit from the current crisis.
I am probably nitpicking, but does this imply they are only interested in those women who either are “smart brains” or who are committed workers (I immediately worry about how being committed to raising your children bears on that)?
It also seems to be the assumption that if the pay is more equal, women will join the workforce where now they do not. Participation of women in the workforce seems to me to be quite a different kettle of fish than the equal pay issue though.