Irish women will effectively be working for free for the remainder of the year because of the gender pay gap, according to Dublin-based charity Dress for Success Dublin (DfSD).
The charity founded by fashion supremo Sonya Lennon says women in Ireland are paid an average of 13.9% less than men. On this basis, women are effectively "working for free" from now until the end of the year, while men continue to be paid in full.
"We have a gender pay gap in Ireland of 13.9%. If you shave 13.9% off the end of the year, you land on today's date," Sonya Lennon, founder of DfSD, said.
"Lack of affordable childcare, gender stereotyping, inflexible work options and poor take-up of parental leave are all feeding into the persistent inequalities between women and men," she added.
Today marks 'Equal Pay Day' here, which aims to highlight the pay gap between women and men.
The European Institute for Gender Equality's (EIGE) Gender Equality Index shows that women's mean monthly earnings are €2,808 in Ireland, compared to €3,423 for men.
However, Irish Examiner columnist Victoria White says the issue arises for obvious reasons.
"This (13.9%) is kind of a bogus figure (that) focuses on a narrow set of parameters," she said.
"There is apparently a very, very small actual pay gap, but most of the gender pay gap is becuase women take a step back from work more than men do, in the course of their working lives."
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration, Fiona O'Loughlin, has called for immediate action to bring an end to the gender pay gap.
Speaking at the fourth annual #WorkEqual campaign launch, O'Loughlin said: “It’s a disservice to the women of Ireland to simply acknowledge that a gap exists and that there are in fact obstacles to achieving gender balance at all levels in organisations.
“The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019, which was finally brought forward by the Government earlier this year, sets out parameters for certain companies to publish information on the gender pay gap within their organisation.
“The Government believes this will be sufficient enough to reduce the gender pay gap but I believe they need to go a step further and introduce penalties for those companies who fail to take action to remedy a gender pay gap in their organisation.
“There is a responsibility on us all to make sure employers, policymakers and the general public are aware of the impact that the complexity of the gender pay gap is having on our society.
“It’s up to us as legislators to send a message that it won’t be tolerated or go unpunished.”