Today is equal pay day in Belgium. Here is the mildly amusing poster (itâ€™s not that Iâ€™m emotional, itâ€™s that Iâ€™m underpaid is a rough translation of the slogan) and here is a long pdf document from last year that the Belgians have translated into English as well. That latter perhaps only for the enthusiasts. Peggy even has a video.
When Ireland joined the EU in 1973 it sought a derogation from the equal pay legislation on the grounds that it would beggar us. But we didnâ€™t get it. Is it any wonder I love Europe? In the 1960s and early 70s women working in the public sector and many parts of the private sector including the banks faced a â€œmarriage barâ€. If they were married, they had to give up their jobs.
I suppose in that context itâ€™s no surprise that more than 30 years after the forced introduction of equal pay legislation, the gender pay gap continues. In an EU document (found via this blog, it is so typical of the EU that it’s easier to find its documents via a random blog than via its own multifarious and exciting websites for the various directorate generals â€“ â€œcorporate strategy, whatâ€™s that, weâ€™re all individuals hereâ€ and people think theyâ€™re just faceless bureaucrats, you know) there is a table showing the gender pay gap over 25 European countries in 2002. The average gap is 25%. 25% people! Your sister, your daughter, your mother: their work is worth 25% less than a manâ€™s. See how your country performs on page 22.
More funny children stories tomorrow.