equal pay

The European Committee of Social Rights adopted 15 decisions on state compliance launched by UWE for violations of the European Social Charter

Posted on Updated on

https://www.coe.int/

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has adopted 15 decisions (see links below) on state compliance with the right to equal pay, as well as the right to equal opportunities in the workplace, following complaints which were lodged within the framework of the collective complaints procedure by University Women Europe (UWE) on August 24, 2016. The decisions concern the 15 States which have accepted the complaints procedure (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden), were adopted by the ECSR on 5 and 6 December 2019 and became public today, 29 June 2020. “It’s up to you to make them effective, to disseminate them as widely as possible in the countries of the European continent. It’s up to you to continue the fight so that this deep injustice of unequal wages between women and men ceases, as well as the absence or the few women on the boards of directors of companies and executive committees. Good luck with these actions!” – Dr. Anne Bergheim-Nègre, President UWE.

The decisions identify clear and strong standards in the field of equal pay and, more precisely, they require that the right to equal pay has to be guaranteed in law. The ECSR has identified the following obligations for States:

  • To recognise the right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value in their legislation;
  • To ensure access to effective remedies for victims of pay discrimination;
  • To ensure and guarantee pay transparency and enable pay comparisons;
  • To maintain effective equality bodies and relevant institutions in order to ensure equal pay in practice.

Moreover, the right to equal pay implies the obligation to adopt measures to promote it. This obligation has two elements: on the one hand, collecting reliable and standardised data to measure and analyse the gender pay gap and, on the other hand, designing effective policies and measures aimed at reducing the gender pay gap on the basis of an analysis of the data collected. The States are also under an obligation to show measurable progress in reducing the gender pay gap.

The ECSR acknowledges that the gender pay gap is no longer solely or even primarily a result of discrimination as such. The gap arises mainly from differences in the so-called “average characteristics” of women and men in the labour market. These differences result from many factors, such as horizontal segregation, where there is the concentration of one sex in certain economic activities (sectoral gender segregation) or the concentration of one sex in certain occupations (occupational gender segregation), as well as vertical segregation. The decisions highlight the positive obligations of States to tackle these phenomena in the labour market, including by promoting the advancement of women in decision-making positions within private companies.

14 out of the 15 States were found to be in violation of one or more of the above-mentioned aspects of the obligation to guarantee the right to equal pay and the right to equal opportunities in the workplace. However, the ECSR also noted various positive developments. Measures taken by some States in recent years have led to some progress in reducing the gender pay gap, but the progress is slow. The ECSR’s decisions clearly demonstrate that problems and practices, such as segregation in the labour market, lack of pay transparency, secrecy regarding pay levels, obstacles to access effective remedies and retaliatory dismissals continue to exist and prevent full realisation of the equal pay principle.

The decisions on the merits of the complaints lodged by UWE:

No. 124/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Belgium

No. 125/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Bulgaria

No. 126/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Croatia

No. 127/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Cyprus

No. 128/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Czech Republic

No. 129/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Finland

No. 130/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. France

No. 131/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Greece

No. 132/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Ireland

No. 133/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Italy

No. 134/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. the Netherlands

No. 135/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Norway

No. 136/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Portugal

No. 137/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Slovenia

No. 138/2016 University Women of Europe (UWE) v. Sweden

 

French Version here:

Des écarts de salaire entre les femmes et les hommes subsistent en Europe

 

Why don’t women earn more? the BBC pay gap story

Posted on Updated on

Is it the culture? Is it men? Or is it women, afraid to ask for what they’re worth? The reality is that it’s a messy combination of all these things. But only one of them can be changed quickly: how women feel about themselves and their value.

The BBC is facing a backlash from female stars over pay after revealing that only a third of its 96 top earners are women and the top seven are all men. 20 wealthy women at the BBC are paid the same as 40 wealthy men. It’s about the millions of women elsewhere who feel uncomfortable about saying: “Can I have a 20% pay rise this year?” This is the internalised pay gap, and it’s everywhere. Or at least anywhere where women in well-paid jobs feel able to have a say. Let’s not even get started on the low-skilled and low-paid who never get the opportunity to negotiate their own pay.

Privately, many women will admit their internal barriers are a problem. And they’ve had enough. In fact there’s an intriguing trend running alongside the BBC pay story. Rapidly gaining momentum over the past 12 months, a new branch of self-help has emerged that calls itself “money mindset mentoring”. It’s aimed at women and is an American trend – of course – but it has an international audience. The term “money mindset” has over 33m results on Google and rising.

This idea is championed by Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass at Making Money (yes, this is a real book title), Marie Forleo (“Oprah for the next generation”) and Australia’s Denise Duffield-Thomas (motto: “Get rich, lucky bitch”). I interviewed Sincero recently at an event where the nearly all-female audience was hanging on to her every word. Her books are New York Times bestsellers and have been translated into over 20 languages. Wasn’t she duping women, I asked, by telling them, for example, that they just needed to trust “the law of attraction”? (This is the self-help idea that if you ask the universe nicely for something, it will give it to you.) She slapped me down. This isn’t about wishing on a star, she said, this is about making concrete plans and naming what you want.

Clearly some of these coaches have indeed figured out how to get rich: by getting you to buy their books and courses. But others do seem on a genuine mission. Duffield-Thomas, who has just launched a new online “money bootcamp” for women, quotes a 2016 American Express report about the United States, where 38% of businesses are owned by women: “Women-owned businesses account for 4% of the nation’s revenues, a figure that has not changed in the past 20 years.” Her mission is to change this by helping women to bust through their “money blocks” (“I don’t deserve this”, “I can’t ask for too much”, “I’ll only sabotage myself”).

Knowing Your Value author Mika Brzezinski
Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
 ‘There’s no harm in following advice from the likes of author Mika Brzezinski (photo): show your boss what you could do in six months and put a number on it.’

Such advice, even if it is couched in psychobabble, could be the necessary corrective. Some of these gurus are addressing in simple language what most of us are afraid to admit: a lot of women have subconscious prejudices about what they are entitled to ask for.

In my first job in journalism 20 years ago, I found out a male colleague with similar responsibilities to mine was being paid almost double my salary. “We pay enough to keep you in shoes, don’t we?” was my editor’s response. It was true. I had a lot of great shoes. Although at that particular moment I wished I had been coming in in a pair of old flip-flops. I secured a job offer from a place where I didn’t really want to work but would have gone if I’d had to. They matched the salary immediately.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. No one should have to do this. It should all just be fair and equal. And everyone should get a warm glass of milk before bedtime. But there’s a reason L’Oréal poured millions of advertising dollars into the slogan: “Because you’re worth it”. If most women already thought they were worth it, this wouldn’t need to be said.

 

Of course there are unconscious biases on both sides of the conversation about pay. One US study by researchers at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon University showed that women were seen as “tough and unlikable” in salary negotiations and judged accordingly. Men were not. If women are judged more harshly for asking for more money, the impact of this particular bias is obvious.

One fascinating aspect to the BBC story is that many of the women in question would not have been negotiating their own salaries. So did their agents (male or female) also internalise ideas about their clients’ worth? Gary Lineker’s agent said that the lower pay was the fault of “female agents” not asking for enough. Although he also said that he would “never buy a house off a woman” because they negotiate too hard. It seems we are all saddled with preconceptions about money and gender that will take years to unravel.

In the meantime, why not risk being disliked? Ask for what you’re worth. Be prepared to demonstrate it. Back it up with examples and counter-offers. There’s no harm in following advice from the likes of Mika Brzezinski, author of Knowing Your Value (and latterly the TV presenter better known for “bleeding from a face-lift”, according to Donald Trump): show your boss what you could do in six months and put a number on it. Don’t talk too much while you’re asking, let them take it in. Never say: “I’m sorry to ask” or “I have childcare issues”. (“No one cares about you and your issues.”)

Transparency and legislation are crucial, of course. And perhaps the playing field will begin to level in the UK when it becomes law – from April 2018 – for companies employing at least 250 workers to publish wage figures. But such measures are slow and will not solve everything. Meanwhile the pay gap will take as much busting from inside as from outside. The message from Sincero, badass money mentor woman, is this: “Uncover what’s holding you back from making money.” Certainly, the culture is. But women are the culture too. Change happens with repeated, individual micro-actions. Or at least that’s how it looks from where I’m standing, looking tough and unlikable in these jewel-encrusted flip-flops.

 

by Viv Groskop, writer and standup comedian

Source: The Guardian

UWE in action for equal pay women and men

Posted on

The University Women of Europe have filled collective complaints against the European Social Charter in 15 countries stating women are not treated equal as they earn structurally less than men for equal work. As an international INGO, UWE is allowed to submit a collective complaint of violation of the European Social Charter.

The complaints for violation of the European Social Charter  for equal pay for equal work between man and women against the following states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden can be found on the website of the COE. Only 15 countries in 47 states members of the Council of Europe accept collective complaints.

 It is a first in many ways: 15 complaints at the same time! Once they have been 7 complaints on the same subject, never 15 collective complaints. Never any complaint on Equal pay for Equal work” stated Anne Negre, Gender Equality Expert of the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe. It is also the first time that the necessity of equal pay for women and men is addressed in this way.

President  of University Women of Europe, Edith Lommerse about collective complaints :”This is a necessary step. So far discussion  has been on the mechanism and the reasons behind the pay gap, but the outcome is still the same. Women’s work is valued less and in a lot of cases women need to have more qualifications and or more knowledge to be paid equally. It is good to know that some universities have started to pay women the difference like the University of Waterloo. We aim to make governments more aware of the need to make reparations for women. It is not enough anymore to say the intentions are good but the practice makes it difficult. We need to get this obstacle for equality out of the way.

The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights as a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, which refers to civil and political rights. It guarantees a broad range of everyday human rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

We recommend the following links for tools to help you in your activities, as well as the following additional resources:

http://wageindicator-gender-pay-gap.silk.co

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/gender-pay-gap/national-action/raise-awareness/index_en.htm

https://www.equineteurope.org/IMG//pdf/equal_pay_report_publication_.pdf

http://www.chatelaine.com/news/university-waterloo-salaries-female-faculty-systemic-discrepancy/

http://kvenrettindafelag.is/2016/income-equality-now-lets-walk-out-on-monday-october-24th-at-238-p-m/

http://www.msn.com/fr-fr/actualite/france/les-françaises-appelées-à-cesser-le-travail-lundi-7-novembre-à-16h34/ar-AAjHDX8?li=BBoJIji

More about collective complaints procedure here:

http://www.coe.int/en/web/turin-european-social-charter/collective-complaints-procedure

http://www.annenegre.com/egalité-equality-expert/reclamations/

 

European Equal Pay Day 2015

Posted on

EPD_LogoOn 2 November, the European Commission marks European Equal Pay Day 2015. As there is a gender pay gap of 16.3% in the EU, from now on women symbolically stop earning for the rest of the year, while men will continue to earn money until 31 December.

Ahead of this occasion, First Vice-President Timmermans, Commissioner Thyssen and Commissioner Jourová made a statement:

Equality between men and women is one of the fundamental values of the European Union, but this day reminds us that it is not one of its fundamental realities.

The pay gap between women and men is already unfair, unjustified and unacceptable in the short term. But in the long term, it accumulates throughout a woman’s career and results in an even more significant pension gap, with women’s pensions 39% lower than men’s.

The results of a Commission consultation published today on equality between women and men confirm that Europeans see the gender pay gap as the most urgent inequality to deal with.

Europe has laws in place on equal pay. But they are not sufficiently enforced on the ground by Member States. Last year we made a Recommendation to Member States to tackle the pay gap. We are supporting the Member States, local authorities and other stakeholders to help them make a difference on the ground.

But there has been little or no progress in recent years.

As well as guaranteeing equal pay for women on the labour market, we must give them the means to access the labour market for as long as men. Spending less time on the labour market exacerbates the pension pay gap. This is a question of both mind-sets and opportunities.

In our 2016 Work Programme we will take measures to address this challenge by helping working parents with children and those caring for dependent relatives to balance care and career. The new start for working parents and care givers will tackle the lack of affordable childcare, rigid working arrangements or absence of incentives for men to take more care responsibilities in their families.

At the current pace, the gender pay gap is declining so slowly that we will need to wait another 70 years to achieve equal pay – that’s not one generation, but two.

The pay gap is everyone’s business and everyone stands to gain from its elimination. It’s time to close the gap.”

28 country factsheets were released by European Comission  for all EU Member States with figures on the gender pay gap and the overall gender earnings gap and an EU factsheet with the same information for the European Union: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/document/index_en.htm#pay;

An animated infographic explaining some of the reasons behind the gender pay gap can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/infographs/equal-pay-day-2015/equal-pay-day/index_en.html.

equal-pay-day_presentation_en