Ambitious measures needed to ensure equal pay for women, say MEPs

for women

(Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

MEPs urge the Commission to present an ambitious Gender Equality Strategy, including measures to reduce the gender pay gap.

In the resolution adopted on Thursday by 493 votes in favour, 82 against and 79 abstentions, the Parliament welcomes the commitment of the new Commission President to make ‘equal pay for equal work’ the founding principle of the new European Gender Strategy to be presented in March.

MEPs want this strategy to include binding provisions on pay transparency and on the gender pay gap, applying to both the public and private sector, as well as strong enforcement policies, clear targets and monitoring to better measure progress. They also call for the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan to be revised by the end of 2020, which should set clear targets for the member states to reduce the gap over the next five years.

To tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap, Parliament urges member states to invest in early childhood education and care services, as well as in family-friendly working arrangements to ensure women’s equal participation in the labour market. Considering the gender pay gap is more than twice as high for pensioners, MEPs also call for adequate provisions for older women such as credits for care periods, adequate minimum pensions and survivor’s benefits.

Lifelong learning and vocational training for women should ensure they have access to high-quality employment and opportunities. In particular, MEPs call for greater promotion of entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and digital education for girls from an early age, in order to combat existing educational stereotypes and ensure women enter developing and well-paid sectors.


According to the Commission, the EU gender pay gap in hourly pay is 16%, although this varies significantly across member states, where as the gender gap in pension income is 37%.

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