In 2016, women earned on average 16% less than men in the European Union, according to an article published Wednesday by Eurostat, the European Statistics Office. In Belgium, the gap is 6.1%. The wage gap takes into consideration the difference between men’s average gross hourly salary and women’s average gross hourly salary. For each euro earned hourly by a man, a woman was paid on average 84 cens, says Eurostat.
The wage gap between men and women was lowest in Rumania (5.2%), Italy (5.3%), Luxembourg (5.5%), Belgium (6.1%), Poland (7.2%), Slovenia (7.8%) and Croatia (8.7%, 2014 data). In contrast, it was higher than 20% in Estonia (25.3%), the Czech Republic (21.8%), Germany 21.5%°, the UK (21%) and Austria (20.1%).
This difference has decreased in most countries between 2011 and 2016. Belgium is among the countries where it has gone down the most (-3.3%), with Rumania (-4.4%), Hungary (-4%), Spain and Austria (-3.4%).
The wage gap has increased, however, in 10 EU countries, especially in Portugal (+4.6%) and Slovenia (+4.5%).
At the EU level, the wage gap has slightly decreased in five years, going from 16.8% in 2011 to 16.2% in 2016.
The wage gap is an indicator, which offers a general view of the inequality between men and women in terms of hourly pay. It is not to be confused with the notion of equal wages for the same job.
“The wage difference can be explained in part by the disparity between the overall characteristics of employed men and women (for example, experience and education) and by sectoral and professional segregation between men and women. (Men are, for instance, more numerous than women in certain professions where the wage levels are on average higher than in others)”, according to Eurostat.