On Equal Pay Day, German women deplore wage discrimination | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 21.03.2014
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On Equal Pay Day, German women deplore wage discrimination

German policy makers have vowed to step up the fight for narrowing the gender pay gap in the country. Women on average still earn about a fifth less than their male counterparts, with the situation improving slowly.

Germany on Friday marked Equal Pay Day, an occasion used by policy makers to highlight wage inequality between male and female workers in the country.

Figures released by the National Statistics Office (Destatis) pointed to a continuing gender wage gap, with women earning about a fifth less than than male workers.

Calculations were based on average gross earnings per hour, with women receiving 15.55 euros ($21.45) per hour in 2013, while men earned 19.84 euros.

Equal Pay Day, which falls on a different day every year, marks how long women employees would have had to continue working beyond the end of a given year, to earn the same annual wages their male co-workers received.

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German Labor Minister Andrea Nahles on Friday said she was not willing to put up with the inequality at hand. She argued first improvements would set in from January 2015 with a minimum wage for the low-wage sector coming into force.

Family Minister Manuela Schwesig announced she was preparing new legislation for more wage equality.

"Indirect wage discrimination has to be done away with by providing women with better opportunities to combine family life and work, while increasing wages in typical female professions such as nursing," Schwesig said in a statement to mark Equal Pay Day.

Union leaders, for their part, criticized the existence of seven million so-called mini jobs for no more than 450 euros a month, adding that five million of them were filled by women.

hg/pfd (dpa, AFP)

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