Gender pay gap means French women are 'working for free' until end of year

AFP - FABRICE COFFRINI

Because men's salaries are an average of 16 percent higher than women's, France's female workforce effectively started working for nothing on the morning of 4 November.

Friday 4 November marks the moment when French women symbolically stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with 16 percent of the working year remaining.

The date on which women begin working for free – known as Equal Pay Day – is calculated according to the most recent gender pay gap figures from the EU statistics agency, Eurostat.

The date varies from country to country. Women in Luxembourg will reach their last payday in late December, just hours behind the year ends. Their Latvian sisters have been working for nothing since early October.

The tendency is repeated worldwide.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says the best way to reduce economic inequality around the world is to close the gender gap between men and women in opportunity and pay.

The World Economic Forum issues a Global Gender Gap Report each year, ranking 144 countries according to the disparity between women and men in sectors such as education, health, the economy and political life.

Its most recent report found that overall inequality is narrowing but that progress has slowed.

At current rates it will take 100 years to close the gender gap, compared to the 83 years estimated in 2016.

The economic gender gap remains the most persistent and is unlikely to be closed for another 217 years.

Nurses, midwives and teachers


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