Women in Luxembourg earn about the same as men, reducing the gender pay gap to almost zero. This marks a milestone for the Grand Duchy, which must now address other gender disparities.

Tuesday 15 November is European Equal Pay Day, a symbolic event to remind residents that in the EU, women earn, on average, 13% less than men for equal work. "This means that for every euro a man earns, a woman will receive €0.87," the European Commission explains. This is the so-called "gender pay gap".

However, one country has managed to almost eliminate this disparity: Luxembourg. Eurostat estimates that the hourly pay gap in the Grand Duchy, which is already lower than in the rest of the EU, is just 0.7%. This means that a woman will receive €0.993 for every euro earned by a man in equal work, a difference of less than one cent.

In mid-October, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (STATEC) confirmed that "on average, equal pay for men and women has been achieved in Luxembourg." In fact, women have a higher median pay and a higher level of education than men. Compared to men, women are more likely to work in higher-paying professions, sectors, and large corporations.

In this regard, no other European country compares to Luxembourg. Neither the Scandinavian countries (11.2% pay gap in Sweden, 13.9% in Denmark) nor neighbouring countries (5.3% in Belgium, 15.8% in France, 18.3% in Germany). At 9.10am on 4 November, women across France marked the day from which point onwards they will be "working for free" for the rest of the year.


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Still room for improvement

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement in Luxembourg: while the hourly pay gap has nearly disappeared, annual pay is less equal. The reason for this is that "on average, men receive more end-of-year bonuses".

Another issue is that, despite more or less equal salaries, women are sometimes under-represented in certain sectors. And, sector by sector, their salaries are still lower than men's.

The same is true for age: younger women are paid the same or more than men, but the balance of power shifts around the age of 40. It will most likely take a few more years for equal pay to become a reality across all age groups.

Women also use part-time work more frequently, which affects their "income and pensions." In fact, the Grand Duchy ranks dead last in this category: women in Luxembourg have a significantly lower retirement pension than men. In terms of the retirement income disparity, Luxembourg ranks among the worst in Europe.