Women employed in EU institutions are paid an average of £12,792 a year less than their male colleagues
A gender equality investigation of key EU institutions by Get Britain Out has discovered that the bureaucrats of the EU are failing to practice what they preach. This comes days after a new European Commission survey revealed 92 per cent of Britons agree equality between men and women is a fundamental right, whilst 74 per cent agree tackling sexism should be a priority!
Our review discovered a shocking disparity in the average annual pay of male and female employees in EU institutions. Our Freedom of Information request placed with the European Council revealed the average monthly pay of female employees is £5,119, whilst the equivalent for men is £6,185. On a yearly basis this leads to male employees being paid £12,792 more on average than their female colleagues.
This is largely due to the European Council giving men the top jobs whilst trapping women beneath a glass ceiling. For example, the gender balance in the lowest rung of European Council employees – temporary secretaries and clerks – is three women to every one man. Meanwhile 60 per cent of their policy advisers (known as seconded national experts) are men.
Sexism is also rampant in the European Central Bank. Not only are women outnumbered 42 per cent to 58 per cent, but those women at the top, employed as managerial staff, earn a monthly average of £7,736 less than their male colleagues holding the same positions.
Reprehensibly, the European Central Bank attempts to excuse this outrage. They say this is due to a ‘larger proportion of male staff members in managerial positions at the start of the institution, some 15 years ago, and the subsequent impact of career progression’.
In other words they have made no effort over the past 15 years to rectify the gender imbalance amongst their employees, or even balance pay between the sexes.
This is not the first time the European Union has opened itself up to accusations of double-standards. In July last year, then President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker declared he wanted more women in the next European Commission. He then went on to appoint only nine women to the 27 available positions – the same number as in the previous European Commission.
It is clear there is a pernicious ‘do as we say, not as we do’ culture prevalent in these bureaucratic institutions. The EU trumpets the need for equal opportunities and pay for women whilst barring its own women employees from top jobs. Worse, it pays female employees less for doing the exact same jobs as their male colleagues. By doing so the EU has opened itself up to ridicule.
The EU has always been eager to portray itself as a guarantor of the rights of women, minorities and other discriminated against groups. Following Get Britain Out’s research, it is now obvious this empty rhetoric is being used to cover up the true misogynistic and backwards outlook of the dinosaurs in Brussels. These illuminating statistics prove it is clear the EU is not serious about gender equality or equal pay. Britain should take no lectures on equality from a European Commission riddled with such duplicitous double-standards.
Luke Stanley is research executive at Get Britain OutLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.