How to Close the Gender Pay Gap in Europe: Towards the Gender Mainstreaming of Pay Policy
30 Pages Posted: 20 May 2005
The European Employment Strategy includes a new commitment to a substantial reduction in the gender pay gap in European Union (EU) member states, but progress requires a radical shift away from the traditional policy emphasis on the supply-side deficiencies of women compared with men. Mainstream theory argues that gender inequality is reduced once the pay gap is 'adjusted' for differences in individual characteristics (education, experience, etc.). But new empirical studies in many EU member states demonstrate that the work environment - the general wage structure, job and workplace characteristics - shapes gender pay inequality. Given the negative gender impact of trend declines in minimum wages, moves towards more decentralisation of wage-setting and public sector restructuring, the article argues for a holistic, gender mainstreaming approach to pay policy.
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