The European Commission has adopted an Action Plan on the Gender Pay Gap for 2017-2019. The Action Plan was presented recently at the Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights 2017 by Commissioner Jourova. The colloquium focused on the topic of “Women’s Rights in Turbulent Times”.

The plan highlights eight areas for action, ranging from improving the application of the equal pay principle to combatting segregation in all occupations and sectors. The hourly pay of women is 16.3% lower than that of men in the European Union.  This action plan is welcome news for all those working in the education sector. The majority of education personnel working in early childhood and primary education are women. Salaries in these sectors tend to be lower than those in other education sectors which are more gender-balanced.

Addressing both horizontal and vertical gender segregation in the teaching profession must be a cornerstone of plans to address the gender pay gap and ETUCE is committed to working towards ending these inequalities.

Whilst the action plan is a welcome step forward, the European Commission must ensure its proper implementation. As the European Institute for Gender Equality previously highlighted, Europe has been making slow progress in moving towards gender equality with persisting gender segregation in education being just one example. For true progress to be made, a coordinated effort is needed from European institutions, Member States, employers and trade unions.

To read more on ETUCE’s calls for equality within education, you can read our Resolution on Reinforcing Equalities within Education and  Education Trade Unions In A Fast Changing World, as well as ETUCE Guidelines on how teacher unions can contribute to mitigating and tackling gender stereotypes in education and gender segregation in the labour market.