International Equal Pay Day, celebrated on 18 September, serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing battle to achieve equal pay for work of equal value. This global initiative is a testament to the United Nations’ unwavering commitment to human rights and its resolute stance against all forms of discrimination, particularly discrimination against women and girls in the workplace.
International Equal Pay Day 2023
The Gender Pay Gap Dilemma
Regrettably, the gender pay gap remains a persistent issue, with women, on average, earning approximately 20 percent less than their male counterparts globally. This glaring inequality underscores the enduring power imbalances between men and women, historical and structural disparities, and inequities in resource access and opportunities that continue to stymie the empowerment of women and girls. While equal pay for equal work has garnered widespread endorsement, translating this ideal into practical reality has proven to be a formidable challenge.
Gender Equality as a Sustainable Goal
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal call to action, recognize the imperative of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Moreover, the SDGs champion the cause of decent work and economic growth, striving for full and productive employment and decent work for all, regardless of gender or ability, and equal pay for work of equal value. The integration of a gender perspective is pivotal to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A Milestone for Human Rights and Gender Equality
The attainment of equal pay represents a significant milestone in the realms of human rights and gender equality. However, the journey towards this goal requires the collective efforts of the global community, and much work remains to be done. The United Nations, in collaboration with UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO), extends its invitation to member states, civil society, women’s and community-based organizations, feminist groups, businesses, workers’ unions, and employers’ organizations to champion the cause of equal pay for work of equal value and the economic empowerment of women and girls.
Did You Know?
- Women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value, with an even more significant wage gap for women who have children.
- Women worldwide are more likely to face unemployment, with substantial regional disparities.
- Only 28 percent of women employed worldwide have access to paid maternity leave.
- Nearly 65 percent of retirees without a regular pension are women.
- Women perform at least two and a half times more unpaid household and caregiving work than men.
The Role of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC)
The Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), spearheaded by the ILO, UN Women, and OECD, stands as a beacon of hope in the pursuit of gender pay equality. EPIC unites diverse stakeholders, each with unique areas of expertise and focus, to lend their support in the quest for tangible progress. This multi-stakeholder partnership actively works to reduce the gender pay gap on a global, regional, and national scale.
Addressing the Gender Pay Gap in Health and Care
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the indispensable role of health and care workers, who were rightly applauded and celebrated for their dedication. However, it also exposed the long-standing inequalities faced by workers in this predominantly female sector. To address this issue, the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization collaborated on the first-ever global sectoral gender pay gap report.
A Changing World, A Changing Workplace
Realizing women’s economic empowerment necessitates transformative change, ensuring that prosperity is equitably shared, and no one is left behind. The international community has made a resolute commitment to this endeavor through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Every woman should have the right to decent work. As a global champion for women’s empowerment, UN Women poses a fundamental question: What steps do we need to take to reach this goal?
In conclusion, International Equal Pay Day serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need to eliminate the gender pay gap and promote gender equality in the workplace. Achieving equal pay for work of equal value is not merely a moral imperative; it is essential for fostering inclusive and sustainable development worldwide. The collaborative efforts of governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals are crucial to realizing this vision of a fair and equitable future for all. Together, we can work towards a world where every individual is compensated fairly for their contributions, regardless of gender, and where no one is left behind in the pursuit of economic prosperity and empowerment.