Women in Germany 'have not been paid in a week'

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Emma Anderson - [email protected]
Women in Germany 'have not been paid in a week'
This woman is essentially now working unpaid, according to a new report. Photo: DPA

Given Germany's gender pay gap of women earning 21.6 percent less than men, female employees effectively started working for free on October 12th, according to a report by London-based Expert Market.


Germany has one of the largest pay gaps among European countries, ranking only above seven other nations in Expert Market’s survey of 40 countries. Slovenia, meanwhile, had the smallest gap with women there making on average 96.8 percent of what men earn. This was followed by Malta, Poland, Norway and Italy.

“It’s crazy that Germany, one of the powerhouses of Europe, is so far behind countries like Malta and Slovenia,” Expert Market researcher Tom Watts told The Local.

“It’s the 21st century, so seeing such wage gaps is shocking considering the opportunities for both men and women.”

The date women stop getting paid in Europe

Image: Expert Market. Click to see larger.

Across Europe, women made on average 17 percent less than men, which means that as of October 31st, European women will essentially be working for free.

The German Federal Statistics Office reported in March that the gender pay gap can be attributed to various factors, such as the different industries in which men and women tend to work, as well as “poor opportunities for women to access certain professions or career levels, which may be the result of discriminatory structures”.

When adjusted for comparable qualifications and positions, women in Germany made 7 percent less per hour than men in 2010.

Watts said that in European countries like Germany, there may still be “dated mindsets” about women and families that impact the work they choose to do and thus how much they earn.

“In Germany, I understand that there is a high proportion of female employees in part-time jobs, which can affect hours and pay,” he explained.

“People still tend to think that the woman stays at home and looks after the family while the man goes out and works, and that is reflected in the wage gap we see.”

The country in Expert Market’s survey with the largest pay gap was Bosnia, with women there making about half of what men make, or 54 percent.

To help close the gap in Germany, lawmakers have proposed a wage transparency law: companies with more than 200 employees will have to make transparent what they pay men and women in equal positions and publish wage data anonymously.

Larger companies of 500 people or more will have to also find ways to equalize pay for men and women.

The differences between what men and women are paid in Germany vary greatly by region: Last year, women living in former communist East Germany earned just 8 percent less than men, compared to a gap of 23 percent for women in the former West.

Watts said he hopes the report can bring further discussion about the issue of equal pay.

“It’s good that this is coming to the forefront and that we can hopefully kick start change.”


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