This week, 8 March, marks International Women’s Day. It’s a day which has been observed since the early 1900s. And in 2013 we still have very many measures which we must continue to fight for, not just equality in the workplace but basic rights such as the right to an education for girls.
Equal pay for equal work is one of those things, last week we observed European Equal Pay Day, where research found that there is still a 16.2% gender pay gap between men and women’s earnings across Europe.
The day was marked on the 28 February, or the 59th day of the year – the number of extra days women have to work to match the amount earned by men.
As, Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner pointed out: “The principle of equal pay for equal work is written in the EU Treaties since 1957. It is high time that it is put in practice everywhere.
“Let us work together to deliver results not only on Equal Pay Days, but on all 365 days a year,” she said.
The day reminds us that for many women unequal pay and conditions exist for women and Reding suggests that while the pay gap has declined, this is due to a decline in mens earnings rather than an increase for women.
Of all the member states the UK had the eighth biggest gap at 19.5%. The biggest was Estonia at almost 28% and the lowest gap was found in Slovenia at 0.9%
You can find out more information by visiting the Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner: http://ec.europa.eu/reding and the European Commission – Gender pay gap: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/gender-pay-gap/index_en.htm
And a report on the story is available here.
Also to coincide with international Women’s Day, is a project by Hollywood A lister’s, including Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto who have all come together to tell the stories of nine unknown girls who struggle to get an education- something which should be a universal right.
The four actresses have been joined by Selena Gomez, Priyanka Chopra, Chloë Moretz, Salma Hayek, Kerry Washington and Alicia Keys who have given time to make a documentary about the problem called Girl Rising, which has its premiere in New York on Thursday.
Vanessa Thorpe of the Observer says, the film, made by documentary director Richard E Robbins, “began as an investigation into a fact universally acknowledged by international aid workers: that educating girls in developing countries is the quickest and most enduring way to improve conditions not just for them but for whole communities.” You can read her report in full here.
While education is a universal right, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. I hope this film has the desired impact and improves educational opportunities for girls across the globe.
Closer to home there was a by election, in Eastleigh, few of us could have missed this. It came as a surprise to many that UKIP polled so well receiving 27.8% of the vote. This is something all parties must be mindful of. You can read Toby Helm’s review of the by election here.