The Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee met Commissioner Reding yesterday who shared with us some of the work she has been doing in the Comission over the last year.
One of the things she discussed was the need to review the current status of the gender pay directive.
The gender pay gap remains an issue across almost all European countries. It is true that some do better than others, such as in Slovenia where the gap is low (2%) compared to Estonia (27%).
The majority of EU countries recorded a higher gender pay gap in the private sector than in the public sector in 2011.
Collective pay agreements protect public sector workers to an extent and employers in the UK are more observant of this especially following recent high profile cases in Birmingham City Council, for example. It became liable for equal pay claims that reportedly rose to £757mn following a claim bought by female care workers, cleaners and other employees who said they had been paid significantly less than their male counterparts for similar work.
While the gender pay gap is still an issue, we need to monitor it closely and address it in the same way that we continue to tackle the issue of female representation on company boards.