Germany’s gender pay gap stands at a staggering 21%

FRANCE 24 screengrab

International Women’s Day has become a bank holiday in Berlin. The German capital wants to send a strong signal in a country that compares badly with other European nations: the pay gap between men and women is at a staggering 21 percent.


Despite having a woman running the government - Chancellor Angela Merkel - Germany's gender pay gap is five percent worse than the European average, with only Iceland and the Czech Republic trailing.

Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum, the situation is getting worse. Out of the 149 countries studied, Germany now lags at 14th, not only because of continued salary disparities but also because there are fewer women in Germany’s political institutions.

At Berlin-based Einhorn Products, pay parity has been addressed by the salaries of all workers being published online.

“In the beginning, it was a bit weird. But, in fact, for women it’s really important to be able to compare your salary… and claim equal pay,” Cordelia Röders-Arnold, head of new business development at Einhorn Products, said.

For Einhorn Products founder, Waldemar Zeiler, salary openness is key to tackling pay inequality between men and women.

“If you really take feminism seriously, it’s a battle that you absolutely have to fight, it can’t work any other way, women’s’ salaries are not as high as men’s and only salary transparency can solve that problem.”

Surprisingly, this gender pay issue comes despite a new salary transparency law.

“In Germany, the gap has been 21 percent for the last two years, things haven’t really evolved... but what I find even more shocking is that, in 2008, the gap was 23 percent. It’s only diminished by 2 percent since,“ Uta Zech, at parity lobby group Business and Professional Women Germany, said.

To watch the full report, please click on the link above.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning