German women earn one fifth less than men

Posted on March 18, 2016

FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- Women in Germany earn around one fifth less than men, a wider gap than the European average, but the shortfall is narrower in the east of the country, official data showed on Wednesday.

People heading from one building of Berlin’s parliamentary annex complex to another, walk past a German flag on an overpass in Berlin on April 2014. -- AFP
In raw or unadjusted terms, the gender pay gap stood at 21% in Germany last year, an improvement of one percentage point from 2014, but still above the European average of 16.5%, the federal statistics office Destatis calculated.

On average, German women earned 16.20 euros per hour before tax, while men earned 20.59 euros.

That means that since 2006, when the gender pay gap stood at 23%, the difference between men’s and women’s pay has remained more or less unchanged.

In the former communist east of the country, the pay gap was much narrower, standing at eight percent last year, but in the west it stood at 23%, Destatis calculated.

Women in Germany tend more often to work in low-paid jobs or sectors and frequently only part time, the statisticians said.

Nevertheless, the working rate of women in Germany is changing. For a long time, it lagged behind men’s working rate because of the traditional family structures where women tended to stay at home to look after the children.

But the working rate has risen in recent years, even if many working mothers still tend to have part-time jobs.

According to EU-wide figures compiled by Eurostat, the gender pay gap in Europe is narrowest in Slovenia, and widest in Estonia. -- AFP