European Interest

‘Women’s capacities are not used in full’

“Women’s capacities are not used in full,” Commissioner Jourová said on October 25.

Ahead of Equal Pay Day on November 3, the European commissioner in charge of equality, Vĕra Jourová, said she is disappointed the gap between male and female earnings was stagnating across the EU.

“Women’s capacities are not used in full,” Jourová said on October 25. “The member states are losing several percent of GDP, so this has not only a fairness angle, but also a pragmatic economic angle.”

November 3 is the moment when the European Commission says women “stop getting paid” in comparison with their male colleagues.

According to Eurostat, the gender pay gap – the difference between average gross hourly earnings of male and female employees expressed as a percentage – was 16.2% in the European Union as a whole.

According to The Guardian, it’s the highest in the United Kingdom (21%). Only Estonia, the Czech Republic and Germany had a wider gap than the UK. The figures have changed little since 2008.

In related news, the European Commission is urging EU legislators to reach a deal on a law that would set minimum standards on parental leave and carers’ rights.

Jourová said she was campaigning for member states to do more to promote parental leave. “It is mainly for the member states to sell these new opportunities to the fathers,” she said.

Proposed by the Commission last year, the work-life balance directive calls for the introduction of 10 days’ paid paternity leave across the EU, five days’ leave for carers, and the right to request flexible working.

According to The Guardian, these proposals are likely to be watered down in final negotiations between European ministers and MEPs.

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