UN chief to end the gender pay gap
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for dismantling harmful gender discrimination and stereotypes that contribute to the gender pay gap.
“The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic offers a generational opportunity to write a new social contract that defends the human rights of women, including the right to equal pay,” he said in a message on Saturday.
It is a question of justice and a responsibility for all, declared the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the occasion of International Equal Pay Day.
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He said COVID-19 has raised the curtain on a blatant injustice: the lack of compensation for the work of raising children and caring for people who cannot take care of themselves, which is in largely done by women.
By pushing care work out of the formal economy into the home, Guterres said, the pandemic has exacerbated the gender pay gap.
Many women find it difficult to keep paid jobs while raising children, attending online school and caring for sick or vulnerable family members without material compensation, he said. .
“Investing in the care economy helps close the wage gap by creating new, sustainable jobs while allowing women to participate in the paid workforce,” said the UN chief.
At the same time, he said, most of the frontline health workers battling the virus are women.
They often earn less than men, lack decision-making power and are more vulnerable to violence and harassment, said Guterres.
“I was vividly reminded of the dual role of women when I spoke with a health worker in Ghana, Scholastica Dery.
“As frontline workers, we are the majority,” Guterres said quoting Dery. “Combining this with our household chores is not easy, but we are determined to do it.”
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Despite equal pay laws, women earn an average of only 80 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value, the UN chief said.
“This figure is even less for women of color and those with children,” he said.