EU to tackle gender pay gap

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.

3 thoughts on “EU to tackle gender pay gap

  1. I read the section as implying that the pay gap shows that there must be some “smart brains” and “committed workers” who are not properly being utilized, and that by better making use of them, the EU could improve itself. It’s not a perfectly clear passage and I think it doesn’t really get at many of the issues, but that’s what I’d take the passage to mean.

  2. Some thoughts on women:

    Men and women should operate as a team, both within a corporate environment and outside one with synergy in mind. Members of either gender should not feel threatened by the presence or performance of the opposite sex. What we need is a positive approach to life and business in an attempt to increase personal, corporate, national, and international welfare.
    The social, cultural, and political attitudes of modern society have enabled women to seize some power from men, despite being treated unfairly by unethical leaders, who continue to reinforce the “glass ceiling” and, in some cases, despite having to leave the workforce due to family considerations, and then return a few years later. Women understand that fruitful conversations promote sound business relationships and teamwork, thus contributing to an improvement in the bottom line.
    Women are usually well organized: they manage a dual career, as homemakers and professional employees. Women often regard their fellow employees as family and take time to ascertain their personal needs. Hence, they can sometimes be taken undue advantage of. Competition is strange to most women because they were groomed for caring, rather than winning!

    Fay Weldon, a writer, stated, “Worry less about what other people think of you, and more about what you think about them.” A former mayor of Ottawa once said, “Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought of as half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult!”

    When women start to follow in the footsteps of many men, by being intoxicated by power, they lose their identity and bearings. Women should focus on a diplomatic approach and learn how to exude self-confidence while maintaining self-respect and deal with the competition without being intimidated or taken undue advantage of.

    Women who achieve powerful positions in the corporate world may be subjected to personal and professional attacks because of their gender. Independent women are strong, fearless, and in control of their homes, families, emotions, and their working environment. They tackle problems with a heads-on approach, being steadfast in their pursuit of success and happiness.

    I have a policy of distributing free abridged versions of my books on leadership, ethics, teamwork, motivation, women, bullying and sexual harassment, trade unions, business law, etc., to anyone who sends a request to

    Maxwell Pinto, Business Author

  3. I think this is the sort of thing that’s often said to forestall an objection – the familiar objection that one’s hiring standards should be based on ability, not gender.

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