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The wage gap between women and men

Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 11611 | 13 May 2008

Mr Paul WILLE, Belgium ; Mr John AUSTIN, United Kingdom ; Ms Anna BENAKI-PSAROUDA, Greece ; Ms Olena BONDARENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Jean-Guy BRANGER, France ; Mr Igor CHERNYSHENKO, Russian Federation, EDG ; Ms Sónia FERTUZINHOS, Portugal ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden ; Ms Olha HERASYM'YUK, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Birgen KELEŞ, Turkey, SOC ; Mr Oleg LEBEDEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Terry LEYDEN, Ireland, ALDE ; Mr José MENDES BOTA, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Felix MÜRI, Switzerland, ALDE ; Ms Christine MUTTONEN, Austria ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Ms Mirosława NYKIEL, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Mark OATEN, United Kingdom ; Ms Antigoni PAPADOPOULOS, Cyprus ; Mr Ivan POPESCU, Ukraine, SOC ; Ms Majda POTRATA, Slovenia ; Ms Marlene RUPPRECHT, Germany, SOC ; Ms Doris STUMP, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Vasile Ioan Dănuţ UNGUREANU, Romania ; Ms Tatiana VOLOZHINSKAYA, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Marek WIKIŃSKI, Poland, SOC ; Ms Betty WILLIAMS, United Kingdom ; Mr Vladimir ZHIDKIKH, Russian Federation, EDG
Referred to the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, for report, and to the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, for opinion: Reference No. 3469 (27th Sitting, 27 June 2008).

The wage gap between women and men is a statistical reality. Women earn less on average in terms of gross and net hourly, monthly and annual pay.

This fact has obvious consequences in terms of pension entitlement.

The problem is often wrongly presented as the result of a personal choice, whereas in fact the main culprit is the structure of society and realities such as family influence, all kinds of pressure exerted on women, media images and the lack of childcare facilities.

The main reasons for this gap are to be found in the practice of vertical and horizontal segregation on the European employment market. The former type of segregation, also referred to as the “glass ceiling”, places many obstacles in the way of female hierarchical progression and the latter highlights the fact that women often work in the less well-paid sectors and hold posts with lower remuneration. Such “typically female” jobs include reception work, administrative jobs, teaching and paramedical work, etc.

Schools often provide different training for boys and girls and therefore largely initiate the horizontal type of segregation.

This multifaceted problem requires a combined political and social determination to solve it. Political action is urgently needed because gender inequalities in terms of wages help maintain other inequalities.

The Parliamentary Assembly therefore asks the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to take effective steps to combat such discrimination and to improve the position of women on the labour market.