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Why not being paid is unjust

Hardy Graupner
October 12, 2016

Working hard and not getting paid? That's in essence what happens to many female Europeans for no small part of the year. A study by London-based Expert Market takes a fresh look at the gender pay gap issue.

Female worker
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

B2B market place Expert Market has issued a fresh study looking at how the gender pay gap affects female employees in nations across the Continent.

The survey revealed that on average women in Europe earned almost 17 percent less annually than men. This in essence means that they work without getting paid for roughly two months of the year.

Expert Market worked out on what date women in various European nations could just as well "shut off their computers and put their feet up," because effectively they were no longer being paid for their work.

German women, listen up!

What would that mean for Germany? Well, German women should have stepped away from their working places October 12, as they won't be paid for the rest of the year, compared with what their male colleagues earn.

The government in Berlin is well aware of the gender pay gap injustice and has sought to address it several times in the past, but progress made on this front has been slow.

Earlier this year, Germany's ruling coalition agreed changes to a draft law that would narrow the gap on pay, with medium and large firms to be most affected by those changes.

Workers at German businesses with at least 200 employees would have a right to claim information on corporate pay structures to find out whether they're paid less for the same works than their colleagues. Businesses with 500 workers or more would face additional scrutiny and be forced to provide regular reports on their pay structures.

Huge differences

While the current gender pay gap in Germany is bad enough, Expert Market points out that the situation in Europe is worst in Bosnia, where "the gap is so big that from as early as July 15 women could effectively stop working due to a 46-percent pay gap present in the former Yugoslav state."

Are you curious to find out which country is at the other end of the scale? Surprisingly, it's another former Yugoslav state. In Slovenia,  women earn only 3.2 percent less than men.

But the overall European picture is cause for alarm, Expert Market's Michael Horrocks says.

"It can be difficult to actually imagine how this difference in pay is reflected in everyday life. It's disappointing to see that in many European countries women are essentially working for free for two or more months," Horrocks commented.


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