Women in Italy: the impact of a lifetime of lower pay

An article in La Repubblica newspaper highlights how Italy’s gender pay gap is less evident in hourly wages than in how much a woman takes home in annual salary, and her pension on retirement.

Italy could be said to be doing better than some other countries in combating the gender pay gap. The difference in hourly wages is around 6% – still a gap, but well below the EU average of 16.3%. But the real disparities are found elsewhere: in broken career paths for women who care for children or elderly relatives, types of contract, and the gap between basic and real salaries.

“Salaries are made up of many components,” explains Francesca Bettio, an expert on women’s employment. “For example, overtime and bonuses, which almost always end up in the hands of men.” Women also do fewer hours of paid work, and are more likely to be on part-time or atypical contracts or at home caring for family. All of which means women’s lifetime income is 40% lower than men’s, seriously endangering their future pension rights.

On May 1, Workers Day, the ETUC is highlighting the fact that workers covered by collective agreements – negotiated by trade unions – have higher wages, better benefits and a lower gender pay gap than those not covered by collective agreements.
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