On November 15 2019, the third Committee of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly adopted resolution proclaiming 18 September as International Equal Pay Day. Introducing the resolution to the committee were Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) members’ Iceland with the support of, Australia, Canada, Germany, Panama, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland. The resolution was co-sponsored by a total of 105 member states. As well as recognizing the contribution of workers’ and employers’ organizations, and businesses, the resolution also acknowledged the work and contribution of EPIC to achieving equal pay.
According to Iceland’s Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor “International days like these have proven their worth and served to highlight important issues among the general public and governments around the world, and we hope this International Equal Pay day will also be successful in this regard.”
The day calls on UN member states as well as International Organizations, Workers’ and Employer’s Organisations Civil Society including NGOs and the private sector to celebrate Equal Pay Day. The day will galvanize further action towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 8.5 equal pay for work of equal value.
Equal pay for work of equal value
International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time this 18 September, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.
Across all regions, women are paid less than men, with the gender pay gap estimated at 23 per cent globally. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls continues to be held back owing to the persistence of historical and structural unequal power relations between women and men, poverty and inequalities and disadvantages in access to resources and opportunities that limit women’s and girls’ capabilities. Progress on narrowing that gap has been slow. While equal pay for men and women has been widely endorsed, applying it in practice has been difficult.
EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN
It doesn’t matter where they work or what they do. Women globally are paid less than men for the same work.
In order to ensure that no one is left behind, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address the need to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Furthermore, the SDGs promote decent work and economic growth by seeking full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value. Mainstreaming of a gender perspective is crucial in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.