Unequal pay remains one of the main indicators of unbalanced relations between men and women in the labour market, which is compounded by the gender-based division of labour. Wages are not merely an expression of value, but also imply concrete social structures. Differences based on class, gender and race divide workers, intensifying the pay gaps that feed an intricate system that seeks to exploit the vulnerable foremost.
We can change this bitter reality through transformative equal pay policies that demand an intersectional approach. We can observe higher representation of certain groups in distinct occupational clusters or sometimes in different professional groups within an occupation. Women workers are often not equal as they experience different layers of discrimination in addition to unequal wage relations between them. “Collective bargaining remains one of the most effective instruments to address these issues. Ensuring that women are represented at the bargaining table and in trade union leadership are two fundamental conditions for progress to be made”, says Irene Khumalo, incoming Chair of PSI’s World Women’s Committee.
“Beyond Equal Pay we need to build a movement for Wage Justice: Equal pay for work of equal value needs to be a means for raising women´s labour value, while at the same time transforming the wage hierarchy that segregates women by occupations, plants them at the bottom of pay scales as well as addressing the continued sexual division of labour. Therefore, PSI calls for building a Wage Justice global movement”, says Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary.
The future of public services needs to be gender responsive to consider the strategic needs of women and men. Gender-Responsive Public Services (GRPS) are fundamental to support a more balanced labour market. They allow for the redistribution of unpaid care work between men, women and society as a whole. GRPS can provide women with the structural support required for the construction of their economic, political and social autonomy. “This also involves challenging patriarchal traditions that heavily impact how these services are organized, provided and conceptualized. We need to consider public services through a gender-lens, including in terms of budgeting and the financing of public services through taxation”, says Juneia Batista, out-going Chair of PSI’s World Women’s Committee.
PSI and its long history of struggle for gender equality reached a milestone in 2017, when a fully gender mainstreamed programme of action was approved at PSI’s Congress for the first time ever. It puts our fight for economic justice and the need of the re-distribution of income and wealth at its very center, calling for urgent solutions for how women’s work is organized and valued.
New gender relations are needed in the general interest and a better future for all, a joint call to action for men and women alike. Male public services trade unionist pledged “to work to transform gender relations including the historic sexual division of labour, the undervaluing of women’s work and the fight for the real materialization of women´s rights”.
PSI supports the millions of women on strike on 8th March around the world, their fists high in massive marches, their actions representing a loud call refusing sexism, racism, militarism and all kinds of physical, symbolic, social, economic or institutional violence. Together we stand!
Let us build true equality and economic justice together!
PSI has launched an online campaign to celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th of March 2018. Around the theme "EQUAL PAY – WAGE JUSTICE" PSI is publishing studies and materials from PSI's affiliates around the world. This page will be regularly updated during the campaign!
1 March 2018 - Ontario Pay Equity Results for CUPE Service Workers in Ontario Hospitals: A Study of Uneven Benefits
In view of International Women’s Day on 8 March, PSI is reviving a debate about pay equity presented in the study entitled “Ontario Pay Equity Results for CUPE Service Workers in Ontario Hospitals: A Study of Uneven Benefits” written by Jane Stinson, a Canadian political economist. Access here the study in English.
2 March 2018 - Gender and pay equity and the construction of mechanisms for the empowerment of women: the case of Quixadá City
The Brazilian trade unions and the municipality of Quixadá, in Brazil, have decided to re-open the 2003 campaign “Equal Pay Now!” that introduced the first gender and pay equity committee in Latin America. The report is now available in Spanish.
3 March 2018 - Decent work for Community Health Workers in South Asia: A PSI Report
A recent report by PSI shows the abysmal employment and working conditions of community-based health workers (CHW) in India, Nepal and Pakistan and calls for the recognition of caring for the health of women and children in the community as part of the formal work of the public health system. The report further highlights the importance of the struggle for equal wage for work of equal value in the struggle against neoliberal policies. The report is available in English.
4 March 2018 - Equal Pay and Closing the Gender Pay Gap
This statement provides and overview of three key areas where PSI affiliate UNISON has been leading campaigns and collective bargaining to end gender pay discrimination and to win equal pay for members. The statement is available in English.
5 March 2018 - "Pay equity" project in Chad - Since 2009, PSI and ST-Sweden have worked together to introduce equal pay for men and women workers in Chad through the project “Pay Equity”. Demba Karyom, from PSI Chadian affiliate FSPT, was interviewed in the context of this project. An update on the project and the interview are available here in English and French.
6 March 2018 - EPSU's Strategy regarding the EC’s Action Plan on the Gender Pay Gap - The European Commission is adopting an Action Plan to tackle the gender pay gap in 2018-2019. In view of this, EPSU has proposed to put into place a series of actions that were adopted at the Women’s and Gender Equality Committee meeting that took place last November. Tackling the gender pay gap is one of EPSU’s priorities. Read EPSU's Strategy regarding the EC’s Action Plan on the Gender Pay Gap in English here.
7 March 2018 - Gender-neutral job evaluation study in Chile - The Government of Chile and PSI affiliate ANEF, with the technical support of the ILO, have carried out a gender-neutral job evaluation study in Chile. The study published on the occasion of International Women’s Day is now available in Spanish. The key findings were presented during the 4th Global Forum: Business for Gender Equality - The Future of Work in the 2030 Agenda that was held on 27-28 February in Santiago de Chile.
9 March 2018 - Iceland becomes first country to legalise equal pay - On 1 January 2018, Iceland fully enacted the world's first equal pay law. Equal pay policies are now mandatory for companies with 25 or more employees and those that cannot show that they provide equal pay will be subject to fines. With this new legislation, Iceland's government has committed to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. See here more information in English.
10 March 2018 -Achieving pay equity and decent work in Peru’s water sector - PSI implemented a pilot project of gender neutral job evaluation and the construction of a map of health security risks in EPSEL, the public water enterprise of Lambayeque in the city of Chiclayo in the north of Peru. More information on the project here in English and Spanish.
Social media: #IWD2018, #8M. The UN issued a call for International Women’s Day 2018 to #PressforProgress. The UN also lauds the global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp.