Gender pay gap still open

Union UGT demands equality law be modified to force reduction in wage inequalities

2 min
The gender pay gap in Catalonia is currently 22.2%.

BarcelonaMore unemployment, more temporary employment, more inactivity when forming a family, more precarious jobs and fewer top jobs. These are half of the items that make up the ten-point list trade union UGT has drawn up looking at women's job situation in Catalonia. As it stands, 2022 is still far from achieving gender equality.

Several studies have been published in the run-up to 8-M that corroborate the gender gap. Among these studies is consultancy firm Grant Thornton's Women in Business, which has pointed out this Tuesday that female presence in among Catalan companies' top management stands at 32%. Although Catalonia is the only region in Spain that has reduced the gap compared to 2021 (it is two points lower), the figure is lower than the Spanish average (36%) and the European average (33%), as well as Madrid's (39%), Galicia's (36%) and Andalusia's (34%).

Returning to the UGT's list, the union also claims that training should help to reduce current gender differences – although it does not currently happen – and that a better work/life balance should be encouraged, as well as a smaller difference in remuneration.

According to INE data collected by the union, the average annual salary of men in 2019 in Catalonia was €28,965, while that of women was €22,988, 20.64% less (about €500 less per month). In Spain the gap was slightly lower: 19.50%. Although this difference has been reduced compared to 2018 (when in Catalonia it was 22.17%), the secretary general of UGT Union in Catalonia, Camil Ros, has regretted that this decline is largely due to the rise in the minimum interprofessional wage (SMI) that came into force on January 1, 2019, a 22.3% rise which set it at €900, but not because of companies' good will. "This International Women's Day we have good and bad news. The good news is that after many years the wage gap has been cut by slightly over a point and a half," said UGT secretary general in Catalonia. "But the bad news is that this has not been because companies have suddenly become good at equality, but because of the increase in the SMI," he added.

The male interpretation of work/life balance

Faced with this situation, he has called for a change in equality law. "We have to make it an obligation in the labour market so that all companies that discriminate against women stop doing so," he said.

Ros also recalled the conflict in Ukraine. "Today is a day to stand with the women of Ukraine, since the war is another example of the macho world: men at the front-line and women in exile with their children and grandparents," she said.

During the presentation of the report, the UGT Catalonia's general secretary for equality and training, Eva Gajardo, regretted that women continue to suffer "inequalities, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexism and violence in all its forms".

The president of the CEOE employers' association, Antonio Garamendi, also spoke about the role of women in the workplace at a conference organised by the employers' association Cepyme and criticised the misuse that is sometimes made of work-life balance: "It won't do if it is used so that women go to look after the children and we go to play paddle tennis". Garamendi added that "a profound change" is needed to modify this approach.