Tuesday, 15 November 2022, marks EU Unequal Pay Day. From now until 31 December, women work for free – not by choice, but because of the gender pay gap. This adds up to month and a half of unpaid work because of the discrimination that structurally impacts women, across sectors and countries.
In 2022 this day falls 10 days later that in 2021. At first, one may think that trend is changing and the gap is closing. It may seem that we can rest and take a breath from the ongoing fights. However, in a trend also seen during the 2008 financial crisis, the closing of the gap is not reflecting a positive trend but rather rising social inequalities.
Unemployment rates have gone up in the past year with a greater impact on male dominated sectors. With more men out of active employment, the gender pay gap has reduced. Women dominated sectors - like health, care and cleaning – continue to face chronic staff shortages. Even if these sectors are low paid, undervalued and often with poor working conditions, they are the ones that keep families going.
The importance of these jobs must be recognised. The gender pay gap must be closed. Women workers must be appreciated and celebrated for the value they bring to society through their work. For these reasons, EPSU believes that is fundamental to ensure that job evaluation and job classification is gender neutral and strongly supports the inclusion of an hypothetical comparator of equal pay for work of equal value into the Pay Transparency Directive.