Gender gap: 'Women's annual income could be as much as 40% lower than men's'

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By Euronews
Women's strike in Lausanne
Women's strike in Lausanne   -  Copyright  REUTERS

Women in Switzerland went on strike on Friday in a nationwide protest calling for equal pay and an end to discrimination.

In Lausanne, the strike began at midnight, with women gathered around a bonfire in the city's Cathedral square. They were there to protest a 20 percent discrepancy between men and women's wages and a discrimination gap — differences that can't be explained by rank or role — that's only getting worse.

And Switzerland isn't alone. Across Europe, women earn 16 percent less than their male counterparts, according to a recent report from the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Institute director Virginija Langbakk spoke to Euronews Now and said the hourly wage gap doesn't measure all the inequalities between men and women. In fact, she said, women's annual income is as much as 40 percent lower than men - and unequal household and family responsibilities are largely to blame.

"Women still have to do very much with the family, with household responsibilities, which men don't usually take so much," Langbaak said.

The countries with the most wage parity, she said, are also those with a better work-life balance and where men choose to take more responsibility at home.

"The Nordic countries plus the Netherlands are the best in many ways because it's taken in a comprehensive way. Also here you look at the social support, like child care, which gives the possibility for women to work and also how men take the work-life balance measures."

You can listen to the full interview with Virginija Langbaak by clicking on the player above.