Education International
Education International

International Women’s Day: EI launches global campaign for pay equity between the genders

published 8 March 2010 updated 8 March 2010

Every year on 8 Mar, women from all around the world come together to celebrate their Day. It is a day to evaluate the progress made in and the remaining challenges towards achieving gender equality.

A major global challenge is pay equity between the genders. Even today, not a single country in the world can claim to have achieved it. A 2009 report by the International Trade Union Confederation shows that, worldwide, women earn 22.4% less than men, even though various international treaties urge to close this gender wage gap.

On the occasion of the International Women's Day this year, Education International is launching its global campaign “Pay Equity Now!”. Through this campaign, EI affirms the right of all workers to equitable wages, and aims to help education unions overcome gender discrimination in employment.

Pay equity means equal pay for the same work or work of comparable value. Nevertheless, women-dominated occupations are often paid less than those usually performed by men.

Teaching, for example, is a “feminised” profession where the proportion of women teachers are greater than men teachers.

However, the proportion of women teachers declines with the increasing age of students and higher earnings. The case is especially so in the tertiary and higher education sub-sector where the salary scale is higher but women have to struggle to get to managerial positions.

At the same educational level as their male colleagues, women are more likely to work part-time, hold more non-tenure and/or non-decision-making positions. All of these factors contribute to women’s disadvantage on the pay roll.

The Pay Equity Now! campaign aims to encourage teacher organisations worldwide to collect solid evidence on gender pay disparity, adopt union policies on equal pay, and network for well-coordinated lobbying to get governments to commit to implementing pay equity.

EI President, Susan Hopgood remarks that more is to be done despite the progress made in the recent decades:

"I have seen tremendous changes for women teachers including paid maternity leave and longer periods of family leave, permanent part-time work, improved access to pensions, recognition of sexual harassment, promotion on the basis of merit rather than seniority. As a result, we have seen much improvement in terms of women in school leadership positions, although we still have a way to go."

Please support our campaign by visiting the website: Pay Equity Now!