Before Equal Pay Day: Call for equal pay for women

Status: 06.03.2023 1:45 p.m

Women earn less per hour and often work part-time. According to new calculations, the Federal Statistical Office sees an inequality of 39 percent on the labor market. Politicians call for more equality.

Before Equal Pay Day, the international day of action for equal pay between women and men, calls for equal pay for both sexes are increasing. According to the Federal Statistical Office, women in Germany currently earn an average of 18 percent less than men.

A new indicator speaks of an even larger gap in the labor market: taking into account factors such as gross hourly earnings, paid hours worked and employment rates, the earnings inequality was 39 percent last year, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden.

Adjusted pay gap at 7 percent

A major reason for the difference in earnings between women and men is the high proportion of women working part-time. In addition, the fact that women earn an average of 18 percent less per hour than men can be partly explained by the fact that women are more likely to work in lower-paying industries and occupations – such as health or social work, the statisticians explained. However, if these factors are excluded, what is known as the adjusted gender pay gap is 7 percent.

Equal Pay Day is redefined every year. It marks the day by which women would have to work longer hours from the beginning of the year to get equal pay for work of equal value. This year it falls on March 7th.

Stricter laws for more fairness

The federal anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, wants to adjust wages through stricter laws. In an interview with the editorial network Germany (RND), she called for a reform of the Pay Transparency Act.

Because despite the existing law, it is still difficult for women to specifically prove pay inequality: the right to information only applies in larger companies with 200 or more employees – “and there are too many loopholes”. It doesn’t make sense why women in a small company have no right to information about possible wage inequalities, but in larger ones they do. With the “further development” announced in the coalition agreement, care must be taken to ensure that the law applies to all companies in the future.

Ataman added that the right to sue for associations mentioned in the coalition agreement was also overdue: “Unequal wages are discrimination by law. Germany cannot afford to continue to pay women less in the 21st century.”

Family and Women’s Minister Lisa Paus explained in the “Tagesspiegel” that Germany must say goodbye to a male-dominated society: “For me, patriarchy is over when women are economically and politically equal, half of the power belongs to women and gender-specific violence is not seen as individual deed is played down.”

Lots of women in low paying jobs

More than 80 percent of employees in the five lowest-paid occupations are women. This emerges from the answer of the Federal Ministry of Labor to a request from the left, about which the “Rheinische Post” reports. In the best-paid jobs, on the other hand, female employees are in the minority. According to the information, the proportion of women in food retail, floristry and body care is over 80 percent each, and in gastronomy and horse management around 60 percent.

In contrast, women are underrepresented in the five highest-paid professions, with the exception of doctors. In aircraft cockpits, for example, there are only 6.5 percent female pilots, 14.8 percent of technical researchers are female and 22 percent in management and board members. In addition, the part-time rate is particularly high in jobs in which women are particularly common.

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