IN STATS: 75 percent of full time working women in Germany earn less than men

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IN STATS: 75 percent of full time working women in Germany earn less than men
Female judges and lawyers in a court case in Lower Saxony on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

According to the Germany‘s Statistical Office Destatis, three out of four women working full-time earn less than men - and in some cases significantly less.


In fact, forty percent of women earn at least 30 percent lower, according to the statistics published on Wednesday at the request of Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht and recent founder of the controversial Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance.

The figures were published ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, which has been an official public holiday in Berlin since 2019 and in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since 2023.

READ ALSO: Why this Friday is a public holiday in only two German states including Berlin

A further 26 percent of full-time women earn as much - or more - than men.

The disparity is also reflected in the official data on average gross hourly earnings. Nationwide, the average figure for men in 2023 was €26.63 and €22.54 for women.

The differences can be explained, among other things, by the fact that many of the professions carried out by women such as cleaning, cooking and care giving have low hourly wages.

Germany is known for offering strong professional perks for women, such as paid maternity leave of upwards of a year, but also is often criticised for a thick 'glass ceiling' hindering them from climbing a career latter.

Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht said that the figures don’t belong to modern day Germany. 

"The fact that 74 percent of women in full-time work earn less than men on average is completely unacceptable," she told the news agency DPA.

A gap of more than €4 hour on average is "an injustice that does not fit into the 21st century,” she continued.


Where disparity is the greatest (and lowest)

Bringing up the rear among Germany’s 16 states are Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, where the proportion of women in full-time employment with equal or higher pay is below average at 22 and 21 percent respectively. 

And the proportion with at least 30 percent lower pay is higher than nationwide at 45 percent in each case.

The opposite is true in the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony: the proportion of women earning the same or more is higher here than on average, due in part by the high number of men in eastern Germany working in service sector jobs.

The proportion of particularly low-paid women is also smaller in former east Germany.

The figures from Destatis refer to 6.5 million women in full-time employment nationwide. Public administration, defence, social security and companies with fewer than ten employees are not included.

It is not gendering or language rules that are decisive for gender equality, but wages, said Wagenknecht. 

"This is where the coalition government and the Labour Minister in particular have failed across the board," said Wagenknecht. "It's not enough to admonish women once a year on Women's Day and shoot nice social media clips."

READ ALSO: Women in Germany earn nearly a fifth less than men




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