Women in Europe earn 16.2% less than men. This pay gap is unfair not only in principle but also in practice. It puts women in a situation of uncertainty during their careers and even more after their retirement, when the difference in the pensions of men and women is reaching 36.6%. ”

This said EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Professional Qualification and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen and Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.

Their speech was on the occasion of the European Equal Pay Day on 3 November. It marks the moment when women effectively stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with almost two months of the year remaining.

According to the statement by the three representatives of the institution, “women and men are equal. This is one of the fundamental values of the EU. But in fact, women are still working for free for two months each year compared with their male colleagues. “We can no longer tolerate this situation,” they complement.

According to the European Commission, the factors that are due to the pay gap between women and men are numerous: women are more often working part-time, face the corporate so called “glass ceiling”, work in lower paid industries or often have to take the primary responsibility in care for their families.

Although there is no immediate solution to overcome this inequality, there are ways to achieve concrete changes. The Commission has presented a number of proposals to address this problem at the workplace and at home. It is imperative for them to be further developed by the European Parliament and the Member States within the Council with a view to achieving concrete results, for example by improving the rights of working parents and carers to take leave in order to take care of their families.

The pay gap comes against a backdrop of another key difference. Regardless of the dominant role in remuneration, women in the EU are more educated than men and one third are in leadership positions. In almost all Member States, the share of women with tertiary education is greater than the proportion of men – 33% to 30%. The biggest differences are observed in the Baltic Member States and in Finland, Sweden and Slovenia.