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EU Action Plan 2017-2019 - Tackling the gender pay gap

EESC opinion: EU Action Plan 2017-2019 - Tackling the gender pay gap

The EESC welcomes the efforts made by the EC to address the persistent pay gap between men and women by proposing an Action Plan with eight areas for action, but finds that each area should be further developed. It is important to look at the stereotypes that affect career choices, as well as to the underlying causes of labour market segregation, in order to counter them. It agrees with the EC proposal for pay transparency and pay audits to be introduced in order to facilitate the collection of individualised data and develop appropriate action plans at sector and business level. Moreover, it welcomes the EC recognition of the crucial role social partners play in this, while also highlighting the contribution of civil society organisations. Finally, it insists on the need to obtain additional resources, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework, to implement the Action Plan, including the financing of childcare facilities and long-term care services.


Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes the efforts made by the European Commission, in the present Action Plan, to address the persistent pay gap between men and women by proposing a coherent and wide-ranging set of activities. However, it feels that each of the eight areas merits further development;
  • recommends focusing on cultural roots and the stereotypes perpetuated in education and learning systems that affect career choices;
  • recommends looking more closely into the underlying causes of labour market segregation and imposing stronger measures to combat it;
  • agrees with the Commission's proposal for pay transparency and pay audits to be introduced in sectors and businesses in order to facilitate the collection of individualised data (statistics) and develop appropriate action plans;
  • recommends that efforts be continued to achieve the 2020 strategy's target of 75% employment for women and men, preferably on a full-time basis;
  • welcomes the Commission's recognition of the crucial role of the social partners in the process as key players in the labour market and also highlights the contribution of civil society organisations;
  • insists on the need to provide additional resources, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework, to implement the Action Plan as a whole, including the financing of social care and childcare facilities, without penalising the Member States (in other words, respecting the "golden rule");
  • will envisage advising the Commission to propose both legislative and non-legislative measures, including sanctions and/or incentives if the proposed Action Plan has not proved to be genuinely effective by the end of 2019.