Women should earn 26% more to eradicate gender pay gap, trade union says

Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates problem, leaving 42% of women earning less than minimum wage

Woman working at Alliance Healthcare on October 14, 2021 (by Gemma Sánchez)
Woman working at Alliance Healthcare on October 14, 2021 (by Gemma Sánchez) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 14, 2022 05:08 PM

Women would have to earn an average of 26% more to eradicate the gender pay gap, according to 2019 data shared by Catalan trade union CCOO on Monday. 

The salary difference between men and women that year was €5,977 (20.64%) as data shared by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE), a metric that does not include temporary workers.

The figure is two points lower than in 2018, and is following a downward trend. The difference was mainly felt by female workers with lower incomes because of the minimum wage increase at the time

However, the numbers show an upward trend on lower-income female workers, especially from 2020 onwards. The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic caused 42.32% of women to earn less than the minimum wage, as data shared by Spain’s Tax Agency show.

This figure has been increasing for over a decade now. In 2008, the metric stood at 14.12%, reaching double that in 2017 with 25.7%, and kept rising until 2019, when officials recorded 36.87% of women earning less than the minimum wage. 

The difference between salaries is mainly due to horizontal segregation, pushing women to work in sectors with worse salaries or to have more temporary or part-time contracts. Another reason is that women are expected to take care of family members, meaning they have to take more time off compared to men. 

The gender pay gap for female workers persists despite even having worked for years. When the "maternity period" arrives, the situation worsens, psychologist Irene Galí said during the press conference. 

In fact, the difference has increased among workers aged 18 or less, as in the last decade the gap has increased from 19.4% to 34.8%. Meanwhile, the discrepancy has reduced from 31.1% to 28.1% amid workers aged 56 or more. 

In Spain, the difference between men's and women's salaries was €5,200, meaning women should earn 24% more to earn the same salary as their male counterparts, two points lower than the Catalan figure.


Listen to our podcast published on March 6, 2021 regarding gender inequality, especially during the pandemic.