It is the objective of the campaign to make the public aware of the gender pay gap and to show possible counter measures. In the European Union women on average are earning about 17.4 % less than men. At a wage difference of over 25 %, Austria together with Estonia forms the tail end of the of the wage differences in the European Union.
The most recent data of Eurostat (2007) shows that large differences exist between the Member States concerning the gender pay gap as a relative difference of the gross hourly pay. Italy with 4.4 % and Malta with 5.2 % have the lowest wage gap. It is, however, noticeable that both countries are both showing a lower female activity rate.

The causes for these gender-specific differences in income are both very complex and multi-layered. The main reasons include the segregation in the labour market, difficulties in finding the right balance between private and professional life, part time work and the smaller chances of women to achieve leading positions. Commissioner Špidla, who is in charge of equal opportunities, does not only put the high pay gap in Austria down to the country’s high share of part time employment. “The problem lies deeper in the concept of Austrian society”, says Commissar Špidla.

The European Commission is currently reviewing the European legal provisions on the effectiveness of equal payment. The initial results will be presented on 19th March and may be followed by respective legal measures.

For further information:

Summary of the campaign to abolish the gender pay gap

Press release for the campaign to abolish the gender pay gap

Communication Paper of the European Commission