Picture: 123RF / HYEJIN KANG
Picture: 123RF / HYEJIN KANG

Brussels — The gap between female and male employment costs the EU €360bn a year, or about 2% of its total economy, a new study said on Monday.

Italy, Malta and Greece had the worst readings, with about a 20% gap in 2018, when the data was analysed, while Lithuania, Sweden and Finland were the best, all below 5%.

Overall, the average figure for the bloc — including Britain before its departure — came in at 15% and fell from €480bn in 2008, according to the EU’s Eurofund agency, which tracks trends to inform policy-making.

The cost is an estimate of foregone earnings, missed welfare contributions and public finance costs related to lower female employment, Eurofund said.

The bloc’s executive European Commission will on Thursday present a new gender equality strategy for the 27 member countries, including policies to counter sex-based discrimination and improve women’s access to the labour market.

It is expected to move for the first time towards introducing a legal obligation to report on the gender pay gap across the bloc, which is about 16%, according to an EU official working on the plan.

“Where there are legally binding measures, the situation improves,” the official said.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.