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The reasons for the gender pay gap: discrimination or something else?

According to a research made by the SHANARANI project partners (funded under the Erasmus + program), gender pay gap and gender pension gap are observed in all partner countries and are close to the EU gender pay gap - 15%, pension gap - 30%). According to the results of the survey conducted in 6 partner countries (Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Lithuania), the reasons for these numbers are largely based on gender stereotypes, which, unconscious or not, model human behavior. This conclusion is supported by a series of facts set out in the study report. One of the most striking is the fact that in most of the countries, the largest pay gap between women and men is seen in research-related positions. This proves that women are still not accepted as equal to men in the scientific circles.

As far as family roles are concerned, women are still considered to be the "family responsible" gender. That's why they tend to care for children or for sick and elderly relatives more often than men. As a consequence, women choose to work part-time or take a break from work. Besides, they are the ones who do most of the unpaid housework.

On the other hand, men are still the ones who make the responsible decisions, accounting for up to 70% of leadership positions in both business and politics. 

Gender stereotypes also refer to what specialties are learned by women and men, respectively, and to their professions. Those related to social engagement and care, as well as administrative posts, are considered to be "female".

Last but not least, the film and music industry strengthens stereotypes, portraying women as objects and building the idea that they rely on men to achieve wealth, status and meaning of life.

More information and ideas on how to use this information when working with young people to address gender stereotypes about their lives can be found in the Handbook for Trainers - European Gender Facts .

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of
the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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