Battle for equal pay may be best won by denouncing stereotypes

The EESC backs the Commission's efforts to reduce the 16.3% gender pay gap in the EU, but is proposing further action with a special emphasis on combating long-established social and cultural stereotypes which determine educational and career choices for women.

In its opinion on the Commission's Action Plan on tackling the gender pay gap, the EESC also stressed the importance of pay transparency and pay audits in companies. It also urged the Commission to start collecting individualised data in order to produce more accurate statistics on female poverty which is often masked due to the fact that data are collected per household and not individually.

More precise figures on wages would permit a more informed collective bargaining which is extremely important.

"Social partners have a decisive role to play here because estimates show that a one percent increase in social dialogue brings down the gender pay gap by 0.16 percent," rapporteur Anne Demelenne said.

The co-rapporteur for the opinion, Vladimira Drbalová, said that major progress would be made if women entered better paid sectors such as science, ICT, transport or construction.

The EESC also argued that Member States had an important role to play, as they should increase their provision of childcare and elderly care facilities, thereby securing a better work-life balance.

If the Commission's efforts yield no results by the end of 2019, the EESC may consider asking it to propose more binding measures, which may include penalties. (ll)