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German gender wage gap

Tuesday 30 September, 2008

I caught this article by Sarah Plass in the Chicago Tribune Wage gaps frustrate German women which illustrates the plight of female workers in Germany.  In some ways, it’s little different from other countries, but for such a highly developed economy, it is still a bit of a surprise.  Women earn 24 % less than men who do the same work, a gap exceeded only in Cyprus, Estonia, & Slovakia, company Germans are not used to keeping.  The European average is 15.9%.  US & European statistics are not comparable because the Americans count only full-time workers while the Europeans include part-time workers.

When I lived/worked in Germany @ Deutsche Bank & Siemens, I could see that women were not treated as equals in the workplace & apparently that has not changed.  I kept in touch with a colleague from the bank & she left shortly after I did.  A colleague of mine from Siemens fairly consistently bemoaned the opportunities for women there.  I believe she had a child & left the company.  I’m surprised that the German government hasn’t done more to assure equality.  In many ways German society tends more towards the middle, so it’s inconsistent that the government doesn’t do more to that end.  Given the low birth rates in Germany, it’s even more startling that they don’t do more to encourage bigger families.  It still surprises me that in some ways, both professional & personal relationships are still quite old world in the old country, despite all of the advances in technology, business culture, etc.

Their neighbors to the north seem to be doing a much better job in this area.  I was involved with a woman in Denmark & it was easy to see women were equals to men when they held some jobs we typically associate with men, simply because of the worker shortage, they have to.  1 of the things I liked when I spent about 6 months in Sweden was that women were on par with men @ work.  Again, market circumstances dictate there.

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