Today marks the second International Equal Pay Day. In November 2019, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring September 18 as the International Equal Pay Day. This resolution highlighted that the gender pay gap persists and that progress towards a future of equal pay is minimal. According to the UN, globally women are paid about 16% less than men. With that rate of progress, it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap (1).
In Europe, the gender pay gap in the European Union barely changed between 2014 and 2019 (slight reduction of 1.6%) while the gross hourly earnings of women were still on average 14.1% below those of men (2).
The slow advancement of the economic empowerment of women is closely related to inequality in career progression, part- time employment due to caring responsibilities and limited access to equal opportunities. These persistent barriers continue to reproduce economic disparity, gender stereotypes and discrimination.
Barriers have also increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, which keeps broadening gender inequalities and negatively impacting female employment. It is imperative that governments across the globe give high priority to actions concerning equal pay, especially during the effort to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.