According to Eurostat, Spanish women face a gender salary gap of 14,9 %. This means that comparing the total amount earned in the entire year by men and women in the same position, women stop earning a salary on November 8th.
However, the Spanish figure is still below the European average (16,3 %) or other countries with stronger economies, such as the UK (20,8%) or Germany (22 %). This gap is mainly noticeable within private enterprises and, fortunately, almost nonexistent within the public sector, which is more likely to be transparent with regards to pay-scales and salaries.
Spanish female employees have begun a campaign called ‘I work for free’ (Yo trabajo gratis), calling for more efficient equality policies, and even a reform of the Spanish Constitution to guarantee equal working conditions.
The Global Gender Gap Report in 2016 highlighted several issues hindering gender parity to be reached. According to the report, formal education is nearing equality around the globe. However, this does not transfer into professional levels, and it will still take forty seven years to close the gap in western Europe, sixty one in Latin America and the Caribbean and 356 in the Middle East and north Africa.
Another important fact of this report is the value of care, referring to those activities that women carry out as part of their gender roles such as tutoring, shopping, housekeeping, child care or senior care. These activities are more likely to be carried out by women, which then frees men to assume further professional responsibilities. Consequently, for instance, in Spain, 82 % of high-responsibility positions are held by men, whereas part-time jobs or jobs in low-paid areas such as the retail sector or leisure sector are occupied by women.
Labour unions see only one alternative to close this gender pay gap: transparency in the workplace, contracts, and salaries.