Working more for less pay

European survey finds women earn 15 per cent less than men

Women in the European Union are working more but getting paid less than men, a recent survey found.

The survey, by Eurostat in honour of International Women's day today, found that women in the 25 EU states received 15 per cent less pay than men.

While women are more likely to be unemployed than men, at a rate of 9.6 per cent compared to 7.6 per cent for men in January 2006, women spend more time at their workplace and more hours doing housework, the report stated.

Some European governments are bringing the fight for equity into the realm of law.

Norway instituted legislation in January requiring publicly-held companies to fill 40 per cent of boardroom positions with women by the end of 2007. Those that fail to do so will de-listed from the Oslo bourse.

The French government took a similar step by imposing a 20-per-cent target to be met by 2011.

Historically, Norway has led the way for women's equality. In 1997, all public committees were made up of at least 40 per cent women, a quota introduced 20 years ago. One third of Norway's MPs are women, as are nine of its 19 cabinet ministers.

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