International Women’s Day on 8 March is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s campaign theme is #PressforProgress as the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings tell us that gender parity is over 200 years away. With global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more, there is a strong momentum worldwide to strive for gender equality.
In 2016, the unadjusted gender pay gap was around 16% in the European Union. Put differently, women earned on average 84 cents for every euro a man made per hour. Across member states, the gender pay gap in 2016 ranged from just over 5% in Romania and Italy, to more than 25% in Estonia, followed by the Czech Republic and Germany with both almost 22%. The gender gap is generally much lower at the beginning of the career and tends to widen with age. The gender gap generally increases with age as a result of the career interruptions that women experience during their working life.
The European Union made a statement on the occasion of the International Women’s Day in which it emphasized that the equality between women and men is one of the fundamental values of the European Union enshrined in its treaties. The EU leaders reminded that despite the work that needs to be done across many areas, Europe is one of the safest and most equal places for women in the world. Yet, the leaders also acknowledged that women are still too often prevented from breaking the glass ceiling, receiving lower pay and fewer opportunities for career and business development. The EU is also advancing women’s leadership and economic empowerment around the world by providing equal access to health and family planning services, the labor market, and political life.