Today is ‘Equal Pay Day’, which means that women symbolically work for nothing for the rest of the year. It reflects the fact that women receive 13 percent less for the same work than men. “People sometimes forget that equal pay for the same work is a legal obligation,” says economist and author Sophie van Gool.
As of today, women in the Netherlands work for free
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Every year around this time, Van Gool, author of the book ‘Why women earn less – and what we can do about it’, has to draw attention to the lower salary of women. That’s because the problem just won’t go away. Worse still, recent research shows that the pay gap has increased instead of decreased.
It is often thought that women themselves are to blame, says Van Gool, ‘that they negotiate less often and therefore do not ask for a higher wage.’ But that is not correct, says the economist. ‘Studies show that women do not negotiate less often than men.’
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‘You still have to prove yourself’
According to her, women pay more attention to past performance. ‘Then they say: you haven’t shown it yet. Or: you still have to prove yourself. Men are more likely to believe in their potential.’
But even if negotiations were the basis, that would not be a valid reason, according to Van Gool. ‘Equal pay for equal work is simply a human right. The legal obligation lies with the employer to pay everyone equally. That has been the case for more than sixty years.’
Also read | Employers obliged to share wage information: ‘Women miss out on a lot of money’
Van Gool believes that remarkably little attention is paid to the theme during the elections. “The progressive parties, GroenLinks-PvdA, D66, Volt and BIJ1 do have some plans,” she says. ‘But the parties on the right, the VVD and the CDA, talk very little about it.’