The gender pay gap in Belgium halved between 2010 and 2020, however, it increases with age and remains high among people aged between 55 and 64.
In 2020, women earned on average 5.3% less per hour than men, down from 10.2% ten years earlier, according to figures from the Belgian statistical office Statbel, published on Tuesday ahead of International Women's Day.
The figures highlighted that the wage gap increases with age: while it is as low as 3.4% for people aged 25 to 34, it increases to 8.9% for people aged 55 to 64.
Still, Belgium is doing better than most of the other European countries. The average wage gap in Europe was 13% in 2020, down from 15.8% in 2010. Only Luxembourg (0.7%), Romania (2.4%), Slovenia (3.1%), Italy (4.2%) and Poland (4.5%) did better than Belgium in 2020.
A recent comparison by consultant PwC also showed that Belgium is doing well compared to many other countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
However, it also found that the pandemic resulted in fewer women participating in the labour market in 2020, and more women being unemployed. "On average, Covid-19 delayed progress on gender equality in the workplace by at least two years," PwC stated.
Meanwhile, among self-employed people, women still earned 30% less than their male counterparts in 2020.
And figures from self-employed organisation NSZ show that women who are self-employed still earned 30% less than their male counterparts, mainly as a result of the greater presence of women in sectors with lower average wages and the proportionally greater number of women in secondary jobs.