German women earn on average 21.6 percent less than men, according to government data. Only two countries in Europe recorded wage gaps between women and men that are higher than Germany's.
The wage gap between women and men in Germany is largely the result of differences in employment and promotion opportunities, patterns of employment and the role of women in society, according to a government response to a petition from the Left Party in parliament.
The country's labor ministry complained of "mostly indirect discrimination" on women's wages - in which they were given fewer opportunities on the job and chances to climb the career ladder.
Even taking into account factors such as industry sector and part-time employment, both of which impact salaries, there is still an average wage difference of 7 percent in pre-tax earnings, when qualifications and job experience are taken into account.
The 21.6 percent figure puts Germany ahead of Estonia and Austria, but well behind other countries in the EU. By comparison, the wage gap in France is around 15 percent and in Poland nearly 8 percent.
cw/gsw (AFP, KNA)