The EP dedicated this year's International Women's Day to the theme "equal pay for equal work" as women in the EU are still on average paid 17% less then men. Slovakian Christian-Democrat MEP Edit Bauer, author of a report on how to close the gender pay gap, said more needed to be done about this: "Progress is extremely slow."
The report on equal pay said there were many reasons, often complex and related, why women continued to be paid less than men. Experts claim half of the difference is due to direct and indirect discrimination. Other causes cited include women tending to do more part-time work than men and often dominating in lower-paid sectors or industries with fewer opportunities for collective representation and bargaining power. Research also shows a marked difference once women return to the labour market after their first maternity leave.
Programme of events in Brussels
7 March: seminar for journalists and screening of the film "Made in Dagenham" about a strike in favour of equal pay in England in 1968
8 March: interparliamentary meeting. This is an event that brought together European and national MPs from parliamentary committees for equal opportunities to share their experiences and best practices on the effectiveness of current measures to reduce the gender pay gap and elaborate on potential further initiatives to tackle its causes. The meeting was open to the public. During the event three discussion panels were foreseen, focusing on the following topics: segregation of the labour market as a factor of inequality; closing the gender pay gap - experiences and best practices from national parliaments; and how can the EU support member states in tackling the gender pay gap.