Even though 90% of Europeans think it’s unacceptable for women to be paid less than men, the average European Union gender pay gap remained close to 13% in 2021. There has been only a four percentage point decrease over the previous decade. This is despite the European Union encouraging member states to implement legislation and policies to improve gender pay equality for decades.
Fortunately, a new European Union pay transparency directive, adopted in April, will help to close this gap further. But even with this new law, this will not be an easy task. It will mean overcoming some significant drivers of wage inequality between men and women, including unconscious bias and stereotyping, differences in negotiation tactics and even new technology such as artificial intelligence.
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of the total number of female and male workers. It covers all workers employed within a country, sector or organisation. So, it differs from the right to equal pay, the right of an individual female worker to be paid the same as a male worker doing equal work or work of the same value.
The causes of the gap are complex and interrelated. The unequal division between genders of paid and unpaid work (impacting career choices and…