It'll take Ireland 55 years to bridge the gender pay gap 1 month ago

It'll take Ireland 55 years to bridge the gender pay gap

“The pandemic has exacerbated gender inequalities throughout society."

It will take Ireland 55 years to bridge the gender pay gap.

September 18 marks the first UN International Equal Pay Day, a moment of recognition for the glaring inequality that still exists between male and female workers around the world.

The global pay gap stands at 23 percent, a number that is not only contributing to financial disparity, but the ongoing historical and structural unequal power relations between women and men.

The UN has set up a number of initiatives to tackle this issue, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both aim to encourage decent work for women around the work, that is ethical and paid at a fair price.

But where there has been much endorsement of ending the gender pay gap, little progress has been made.

Ireland's gender pay gap currently stands at 14%, a number that will likely become further exacerbated by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senator Ivana Bacik says that the country's efforts on bridging the pay gap need to be renewed.

“The pandemic has exacerbated gender inequalities throughout society," she says. "Shutting down the economy has most severely affected sectors that employ women in higher numbers.

"Recent cases include the terrible developments affecting Debenhams workers and those affected by the closure of St. Mary’s and St. Monica’s nursing homes in Dublin."

Senator Bacik adds that for families able to work form home, the burden of unpaid domestic work has for the most part, fallen to women. This is unfortunately even more pronounced for single parent families.

"Without taking account of the destructive effects of Covid-19, it is estimated that Ireland will take 55 years to close this gap," says Bacik.

"Such a pace of change would see girls currently in primary school earning less than their male schoolmates at the time they retire!"

Ireland passed its equal pay legislation almost 50 years ago, and yet for the most part, women are still earning considerably less than their male counterparts.

Back in 2017, Bacik introduced the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, a law that would require medium to large-sized companies to regularly publish wage transparency surveys.

She is calling on the current government to pass legislation to address the significant pay gap - one that is only expected to widen with the prevalence of Covid-19.

"The world is dependent on women’s work," she says ."It is time to remunerate it accordingly.”

Elsewhere, the UN held a virtual event to encourage all labour market actors to take the necessary steps to ensure that equal pay is at the heart of Covid recovery efforts worldwide.

You can find out more here.