Gender pay gaps across the EU, but Slovenian and Polish women show the way out - 02-11-2016

Gender pay gaps, i.e. unequal pay for women who perform work of equal value as their male colleagues, across the EU abound. All EU-member states persistently show such gaps, ranging from a mere average 1% in the Balkan state of Slovenia, to a huge 28% in the Baltic state of Estonia. The EU’s largest economies, such as Germany, France and the UK, display gender pay gaps of 22, 20 and 16% respectively. Typically the gender pay gaps are between 10 and 20%. This pattern repeats itself when taking into account the bonuses and allowances that top the net pay of employees. There are a few bright spots for women though on the European map.

First and foremost Slovenia. Not only is there hardly any evidence of gender discrimination in general (average 1%), in terms of bonuses and allowances women outperform men. They received more overtime payment, more expense compensation, more annual bonuses and holiday allowances. Moreover they participate more in childcare arrangements, medical and pension funds than Slovenian men do. The only other EU-member state with such a relatively strong bargaining position of women seems to be Poland. Here the average gender pay gap still favours men with 5% (relatively low on a European scale). But when it comes to perks women strike better deals for themselves in performance pay, expense compensation, bonuses and allowances. Polish men however more often participate in pension and medical insurance schemes.

In addition to the large economies of France, Germany and the UK, where women fall back behind men in terms of bonuses and allowances, must be mentioned Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries and the central European countries of Austria, Hungary and Romania. This leaves few exceptions of countries where women outperform men on one or more of the perks investigated (see table below).

The most equal treatment is most frequently found in the important field of child care arrangements. Here the differences in gender treatment tend to be tiny. This statistical fact, and the performances of Slovenian and Polish women on their respective labour markets, show that gender pay gaps may be reduced through a favourable mix of nationwide policies and individual bargaining power.

Report: Analysis of the gender pay-gap in monetary and non monetary allowances and bonuses

Date: October 17, 2016

Report: Analyses of the gender pay gap in monetory and non monetory allowances and bonuses, was conducted by University of Amsterdam/AIAS. This report is part of the WITA project.

What is the WITA-Gender Pay Gap project?

With Innovative Tools Against Gender Pay Gap – WITA GPG (January 2015 - December 2016) aims to make a significant contribution in reducing the large and enduring gender pay gap. It is made possible by the European Commission PROGRESS program Action Grant nr. 4000004929. One of the activities is to compare male and female wages at the level of occupational groups and release the results for publication at the national WageIndicator websites of all 28 EU-member states and Turkey, as well as dissemination though press releases.

More information about the WITA project

More information about Gender Pay Gap in the United Kingdom at

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