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French women will 'work for free' until end of the year, study says

© Thomas Samson, AFP | Hundreds of protestors gather at Paris' place de la République to protest against the gender pay gap on 7 November 2016.

Text by Charlotte VIGUIE

Latest update : 2017-11-04

Due to the persistent pay inequalities between men and women, French women will work “for free” starting November 3 at 11:44am until the end of the year, four days earlier than in 2016.

French women will work “for free” for 40 days this year, according to a study on the gender pay gap by the French feminist collective, Les Glorieuses.

Based on Eurostat data, the study revealed that in 2015 the gross hourly wage for women was 15.8 percent lower than that of men. Calculated over a year, this amounts to French women working for free for 39.7 days, starting on November 3 until the end of the year.

Pay inequality on the rise

In 2016, feminist associations held several demonstrations in France to draw attention to the gender pay gap.

“We had the impression that people were just discovering this inequality,” Rebecca Amsellem, founder of Les Glorieuses, told French TV channel BFM Business.

Last year the demonstrations were held on November 7, when women were deemed to start working for free at 4:04pm – four days later than this year.

“Last year, we drew our statistics from the latest Eurostat figures available, which were based on salaries in 2010,” Amsellem told FRANCE 24. “We cannot say that this drop happened in one year – rather, it happened over five.”

Growing awareness of the issue

Following the success of last year’s campaign, the collective wants to launch a strike again this year. Besides a campaign on social networks with the hashtag #3novembre11h44 and pictures to share online, Les Glorieuses have launched a petition geared towards bringing about change.

“We want concrete progress that’s more efficient than the current system and that would consist of fining companies that fail to respect pay equality,” Amsellem said.

The collective has come up with several measures designed to address pay inequality. These include asking companies to be transparent about how much they pay men and women, introducing identical maternity and paternity leave, and creating an “equality certificate” that would be issued by the French state.

According to a recent study by the Concorde Foundation, a French think tank, establishing pay gender parity would generate €61.9 billion annually for the French economy.

Despite the potential benefits, full gender parity is not expected to materialise until 2234, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. 

This article was adapted from the original in French

Date created : 2017-11-03

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