"Our numbers show that the wage gap between men and women in 2008 didn't change significantly from the year before," EU equal opportunities commissioner Vladimir Spidla told the paper. "Women in the EU earn 17.4 percent less on average."
But in Germany, women earn 23 percent less than men, Spidla said, explaining it belonged among countries “with the greatest inequality.” Only Austria, the Netherlands, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Estonia pay their female employees less.
The main reasons for the wage inequality in Germany are a high number of women who work part-time jobs or low-paying jobs, he said. Compared to other countries, more German women are on the job market with such positions, which distorts statistical comparison.
“The lower the participation of women on the job market, the lower the overall wage gap,” Spidla explained.
But the EU is focusing on closing the gender gap regardless of its causes and Spidla encouraged companies to take on qualified women for leadership positions since now more women are receiving university degrees than men.
But many women still work part-time because of household expectations. “On average in the EU the man works six hour per week in the household, the woman, on the other hand, works 25 hours,” he said. This fact means that four times as many women work part-time jobs than men.
Meanwhile Germany's Federal Statistics Office (Destatis), reported this summer that in 2006 women earned an hourly wage of €14, while men earned €18.38, the paper said.