NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 5, 2008

Germany, a country that despite having a woman chancellor and sitting at the center of supposedly liberal Europe, has one of the widest gender wage gaps in continent, says the New York Times. 

While the wage gap between women and men is narrowing across the European Union and in the United States, data suggests that in Germany, the wage gap is stagnant, says the Times:

  • Since 2000, German working women on average have gone from earning 26 percent less than men to making 24 percent less than men in 2006.
  • It is one of the largest gender gaps in the European Union; only Cyprus, Estonia and Slovakia have equal or greater gaps.
  • Across the Continent, women on average made 15.9 percent less than men in 2007, narrower than in 2001, when women made 20.4 percent less than men.

Change is slow-coming, since the Germany has some of the least generous supports for working parents, says the Times:

  • Just 9 percent of children age three or younger have access to day care, compared with an average of 23 percent in advanced countries.
  • The difficulty for many women in working and rearing children is partly responsible for Germany having one of Europe\'s lowest fertility rates (1.37 children per woman).
  • It does not help that women in child-bearing years are still often asked in job interviews if they plan to have children -- a question that is against the law.

In response, the minister for family affairs recently introduced a plan to help finance private child care and increase the availability of kindergarten spots.  And in 2007, the government introduced Elterngeld, or parent\'s money, a benefit intended to encourage parents to take time off after the birth of a child.  Almost 20 percent of new father have applied, says the Times.

Source: Sarah Plass, "Wage Gaps For Women Frustrating Germany," New York Times, September 3, 2008.

For text: 


Browse more articles on Economic Issues