Time to end the public sector cuts that hit female workers hardest!

International Women’s Day-8th of March: EPSU statement

On International Women’s Day, EPSU calls to end the public sector cuts that impact female workers hardest. “Austerity still hits harder on women’s pay and employment than men’s,”, says EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan: “We need to end this silent crisis.”
Women in public services are still suffering from the impact of the financial and economic crisis. This is highlighted by EPSU’s third report looking at how governments’ responses to the financial crisis have affected women working in the public sector in the period 2008 to 2014. It examines the situation of the impact of women’s employment and pay and the way cuts have affected equality structures in eight countries, the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK.

In Greece alone between 2008 and 2014 the number of women employed in the key industries of public administration, education and health fell by 76,900, or 16.1%, compared to a 15.5.% fall for men. Jobs in public administration in the same period were hit particularly hard, with female employment falling by twice as much (- 31%) as male employment.

For the United Kingdom, the years 2010 to 2014 show a 5.8% decline in women’s employment (5.5% for men) in public administration and 0.6% in education (+ 8.6 % for men), while in health women’s employment has increased by 7.1.% (3.0% for men). Women’s pay in the public sector has grown by less than men’s earnings in the period 2011 to 2015. Over this period, men’s earnings grew by 7.0% compared with 5.4% for women.

In Romania, the number of women employed in the public sector has fallen sharply since 2008, dropping by almost a fifth from 849,590 to 691,100. Men’s employment has been even more affected, reflecting an overall drop of employment in public industries. Women’s pay in Romania increased less than men’s, by 13.5% compared to 15.0%. Overall, the position in the eight countries examined is more varied than in EPSU’s two earlier reports, although the lack of information on many aspects of women’s employment and pay in the public sector is still a major concern. In Greece and the UK in particular, the pressure on women’s jobs and pay in the public sector remains severe. Even in countries where the position of women in the public sector is starting to improve again, it is likely to be difficult to regain everything that has been lost. Almost everywhere the gender pay gap is opening rather than closing.

International Women’s Day is celebrated amongst all trade unionists around Europe and marks a day to highlight the combat for ending gender inequalities and segregation, promoting diversity and equal pay for work of equal value at the workplace.

For more information contact Ruby Waterworth ([email protected] - +32 2 250 10 89) or Christine Jakob ([email protected])

- EPSU statement

- ETUC statement

- PSI International Women's Day campaign

- Read the EPSU report "Cuts in public sector pay and employment: the ongoing impact on women in the public sector"