OECD: Gender pay gap still too high in emerging Europe

Most emerging European countries have seen an improvement in their scores in the latest Women in Work Index, published by PwC. The index looks at the 33 member countries of the OECD, and how changes in policy have improved the work place for women.

“This year, 2019, marks another year of continued steps to improve gender equality in the world of work. However, progress is slow and women in the OECD still face significant challenges and inequalities in the workplace. The pay gap persists and women are still under-represented in leadership positions,” writes PwC.

In emerging Europe, Slovenia takes the top spot (fourth), followed by Poland (eighth), Hungary (14th), Estonia (20th), Czech Republic (24th), and Slovakia (26th).

Since the year 2000, of all emerging European countries in the OECD, Poland has made the most progress according to the report, moving up 11 places.

“Poland is the second country after Luxembourg to make the biggest leap in terms of availability and friendliness of the labour market for women, going up 11 positions since 2000,” explains Anna Szczeblewska, a partner at PwC.

According to the index, the average gender pay gap for the OECD is 15 per cent. Based on the data, all of the emerging European countries bar Poland and Slovenia are above the average. The gender pay gap in Poland is at five per cent compared to 8.3 per cent in Slovenia. Estonia comes out at the bottom for the region with a difference of 26.7 per cent in pay.

The authors of the report note that “the Index shows that improving female participation in work across the OECD could boost OECD GDP by six trillion US dollars, while closing the gender pay gap could boost GDP by two trillion US dollars.”

If the pay gap were to be reduced, the total earnings of women in the Czech Republic would increase the most – to 13.5 billion US dollars – followed by Poland, where female earnings would increase by 10 billion US dollars.

“The world will never realise 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realise their full potential. When we unleash the power of women, we can secure the future for all,” said Ban Ki Moon, the former UN director-general.

While there have been significant improvements across the board since the index was first published in 2000, according to the OECD: “there is still a long way to go to achieve a gender-equal workplace.”