Concepts, Research, Policy
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Janneke Plantenga and Eva Fransen Over the past decades, women’s employment rates have increased quite dramatically. Women have taken up most of the new jobs created in the European Union (EU) and have demonstrated an increasing commitment to the labour market, particularly over the core child-rearing years. Several factors have contributed to this development. First, women have become better educated; looking at young age categories, the gap in educational attainment is now even favouring women. In addition, women’s labour market attachment has been facilitated by a growing service sector, an increased availability of part-time jobs and the possibility to outsource some traditional household activities. In short, women have been increasingly well-positioned for successful labour force participation because of developments on the supply and demand sides. However, these developments have not yet led to full economic equality between men and women. The concentration of female employment in specific sectors has not changed and women throughout Europe remain significantly less well paid than men. This chapter provides an overview on the extent of the gender pay gap, the origins and the policy responses. The first part deals with the facts and present data on wage inequality in the EU member states. The second part is more theoretical and concentrates on the factors underpinning the gender pay gap. The final section deals with policy implications. The extent of the gender pay gap The gender pay gap refers to the difference between the wages earned by women and by men. In order to take...
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