Equal pay for equal work — that’s the message from the EU as it launches a campaign ahead of International Women’s Day to tackle the gender difference in pay.Figures across the EU show women earn on average 17 percent less than men. On a mission to chop wage discrepancies between the sexes, the commission said the financial crisis was not an excuse for the gender pay gap to remain. European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimir Spidla said: “In times of economic turmoil we have to be more active and this for us is a major objective in general but in times of crisis it is even more important. Women must not be used to cope with this crisis”. While the difference in pay between men and women varies across the bloc, the commission claims one of the main factors for the discrepancy remains discrimination. This it says accounts for 50 percent of the gap. Other reasons include women working in generally lower paid or part time jobs, despite the fact they often have better educational qualifications than men.