It seems Belgium is the country, based on global statistics, where the pay gap between men and women is reducing the most rapidly. This is according to OECD figures reported in the daily newspaper De Standaard today (Thursday).
The scales set out by collective bargaining agreements no doubt explain the modest differential observed.
In Belgium, the median monthly salary for men is only higher than woman by 3.3%. The comparative salary gap percentage is 13.7% in France, 14.1% in the Netherlands and 17.1% in Germany. The European average is 19.1%.
The OECD figures also show that the gulf between men and women is rapidly reducing in Belgium. In 2000, the gap was 13.6%. It declined to 11.5%, five years later, and to 7% in 2010. During the following four years, the gap has further reduced.
Per Ive Marx at Antwerp University, this situation may be explained by the significant institutionalisation of wage setting in Belgium. As mentioned earlier, the majority of employees are paid on the basis of scales determined by collective bargaining agreements.
Where used, such agreements thus ensure that there is no difference in pay between men and women.