18/09/2017 – One of the most persistent barriers to women’s success at work and to economic growth, unequal pay, will be actively challenged by a new global partnership, the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC).
Convened by the ILO, UN Women and the OECD, a diverse set of actors are being brought together at the global, regional and national levels to support governments, employers and workers and their organizations, and other stakeholders, to make equal pay between women and men for work of equal value a reality.
With the launch of EPIC at the UN headquarters in New York, work will begin to support innovative and effective equal pay policies and practices. Peer-to-peer policy exchanges, knowledge sharing, peer-reviewed research and robust data and statistics will be priority areas as the Coalition moves forward initially.
Employers and trade unions, as well as other key stakeholders, will have a central role in the application and rolling out of equal pay policies. A Platform of Champions, launched earlier this year by UN Women at the Commission on the Status of Women, will also contribute to strengthening advocacy on equal pay, as part of EPIC.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría noted that “gender inequality has many roots, including flawed policies, discriminatory laws and regulations, misplaced economic incentives, workplace practices, and social norms and institutions.” He asserted that “it is in our power to make an immediate improvement in the quality of life of hundreds of millions of women and their families if we succeed in delivering equal pay for men and women.”
“One of the most visible, tangible and pervasive manifestations of discrimination is that women across the globe are still being paid less than men for work of equal value. That is why this equal pay initiative was developed and why it is a focus area of the ILO’s Women at Work Centenary Initiative. The principle of equal pay for work of equal value is enshrined in the ILO Constitution of 1919. One hundred years is too long to wait, and we must all work together to make equal pay for work of equal value a reality. ” said Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
EPIC is a direct move to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular Target 8.5 which calls for equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, says that “equal pay is one of the most tragically unfulfilled promises to working women. Equal pay for women is inextricably linked to women’s economic empowerment and dignity. It translates into better career prospects and to higher investments in their children’s education and health and has therefore the potential to increase women’s contribution to national economies and to society more broadly.”
A recent ILO-Gallup report, based on a representative survey of 142 countries, shows that women and men alike want women to be in paid jobs, but there remain a range of challenges for women at work, including unequal pay, balancing work and family responsibilities, lack of access to affordable care, and unfair treatment.
The issue of equal pay remains high on the UN’s agenda. This year, the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, released a report that focused on transformative actions needed to advance women’s economic empowerment, highlighting the importance of equal pay for work of equal value. The innovative work of the newly created EPIC will contribute significantly to challenging some of the main assumptions reinforcing unequal pay, which were also highlighted by the High-Level Panel and the ILO-Gallup report.
Further information on the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) can be accessed at www.ilo.org/epic