Wage equality

Mind the Pay Gap

Auszubildende lernen das Friseur-Handwerk im Technologiezentrum Lüneburg
Please don't trim any more off my wages.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany has one of the E.U.’s worst records in female worker equality, especially with regards to pay.

  • Facts


    • On average, women earn 22 percent less than men in Germany.
    • The country recently introduced a law requiring supervisory boards to be at least 30 percent female.
    • Almost 70 percent of the country’s low-wage workforce is female.
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Thirty-hour working weeks, home-office working, company kindergartens and parental leave for fathers – today’s employers have to show great sensibility for women and family issues.

And it doesn’t stop there. A legal quota, passed in parliament earlier this month, requires firms to fill at least 30 percent of supervisory board seats with female executives, forcing them to appoint more women just as anti-discrimination activists call for measures against sexual harassment at the workplace.

And now Minister for Family Affairs, Manuela Schwesig, wants to minimize the salary difference between men and women by law.

If she were successful, the law would benefit more people than Germany’s new minimum wage: An advisor to the government has shown that one in two female professionals experiences wage discrimination.

Managers of mid-sized companies already joke that they feel like women’s affairs officers. Members of the ruling conservative Christian Democrats who skipped the recent vote on the quota are already looking forward to the next fight with their center-left Social Democratic coalition partners.

But the minister should nevertheless stick to her plans.

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