September 18 -
International Equal Pay Day
Toronto – September 14, 2021 – International Equal Pay Day, annually commemorated on September 18, was established in 2019 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in response to painfully slow progress on women’s economic empowerment, the undervaluing of work traditionally held by women, and the difficulties in tackling pay inequality around the world.
In establishing International Equal Pay Day as a globally recognized event, the UN General Assembly urged collective action on supporting equal pay for work of equal value as an achievable and worthwhile goal.
Equal pay means that women and men have the right to receive equal remuneration for work of equal value, and that women and men working in identical or similar jobs receive the same pay. Equal pay also means that women and men should receive equal pay when they perform work that is completely different but can be shown to be of equal value, when evaluated based on objective criteria. These criteria consider factors such as skills, working conditions, levels of responsibility, and effort required by the job.
Over the last year-and-a-half, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in three decades. Most job losses have taken place in female-dominated industries, including the accommodation, food services, retail trade, educational services, health care, and social assistance sectors. These realities carry significant economic consequences, and further impact the growing gender wage gap.
So, how can we eliminate the gender wage gap? The following measures would go a long way towards making equal pay for equal work a reality for all:
- Make closing the gender gap a human rights priority
- Legislate card-check legislation and promote access to collective bargaining
- Enforce and expand pay equity
- Increase the minimum wage
- Legislate equity compliance for workplaces and businesses
- Provide affordable, high-quality, universal childcare
- End violence and harassment of women
- Table pay transparency legislation
As we work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we must ensure that women’s rights and gender justice are at the heart of our global response. To learn how you can help advance equal pay for equal work, visit UFCW Canada’s Close the Gender Wage Gap campaign. You can also show your support for equal pay by posting about the issue on social media using the hashtags #EveryoneBenefits and #EqualPayDay.