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what does international equal pay day mean to you?

Another new international day was just added to the United Nations' international days calendar: Equal Pay Day. The day will be celebrated for the first time in its history today, September 18 2020, and represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value.

This day is crucial for equality the world over, because a fundamental step toward true gender equality will mean that women have the same economic opportunities as their male counterparts; being able to develop their skills, grow their income and become financially independent, thus equal parts within our global societies and economy.

As COVID-19 heavily impacts the world's economies and the job market turns even more volatile to the underrepresented – women, and young individuals – this international day couldn't have come at a more crucial time.

Welcome back to FairPlanet's weekly roundup. Equal pay will be the step toward true equality. Remember that.

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The good

the gender pay gap is the smallest it's been in history

In almost all countries, if you compare the wages of men and women you find that women tend to earn less than men. These inequalities have been narrowing across the world. In particular, over the last couple of decades, most high-income countries have seen sizeable reductions in the gender pay gap.

As put by Our World In Data, "The gender pay gap (or the gender wage gap) is a metric that tells us the difference in pay (or wages, or income) between women and men. It’s a measure of inequality and captures a concept that is broader than the concept of equal pay for equal work."

What the graph below shows is a steep decline in the gender pay gap over the past six decades, with a world effort through the SDGs as well as a far-reaching women's empowerment and equality movement. But we cannot stop until the gap is a thing of the past.

To mark this international day, the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) will host a virtual global Call to Action to encourage all labour market actors to take the necessary steps to ensure that equal pay is at the heart of recovery efforts worldwide.

The live event will take place on 18 September at 9 am EDT. Register here to join!

The bad

women's rights are under threat, and so is equality

It's impossible to separate gender equality from equal pay, as one informs and influences the other. If gender equality across education, healthcare, marriage, legislative rights and even the right to choice are under threat, so will the pay gap continue to exist.

Equal pay can only happen within a society that sees all genders as an absolute equal – and so we must work across all matters of gender inequality.

In that light, fighting for women’s equality and human rights across Africa is an ongoing battle. A marriage legislative reform in Côte d’Ivoire that took place in 2019, for example, signals that, though difficult, this battle is securing feats across the continent.

Founded in 1996, The Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) is a sub-regional, nonprofit organisation working to empower and protect the rights of women across Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

Find out how you can support EASSI in its mission for gender equality in these African regions.


Join ESSAI to promote gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa

by Yair Oded

Join EASSI as it advocates for gender equality in Eastern sub-Sahara, and works to empower them and defend their human rights.
Our coverage on FairPlanet

The Women’s Justice Initiative fights for women’s rights in India

by Yair Oded

The Women's Justice Initiative fight for women's rights all across India, representing individual women while advocating for broad policy changes.
afghan girls

The long walk on the path to gender equality in Afghanistan

by Shadi Khan Saif

It has been women who bore the brunt of bloodshed for much of history in Afghanistan, while men engaged in bloody power struggles.

Gender Equality in China: Women Hold Up Half the Sky

by Nicole Webb

Chinese women make up one fifth of the world's total female population. From the days of foot binding and concubinage, to forced marriage and unequal pay - by 1949 under then President Mao’s reign, the status of women changed dramatically. For the first time, Chinese women gained the same legal status as men and Mao coined the phrase: “Women hold up half the sky!”
Country focus

A Middle Eastern nation bordering seven other nations, including Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979, when the monarchy was overthrown and clerics assumed political control under supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution marked the end of the rule of the Shah, who while putting in place heavy repression on dissent, also Westernised the country by pushing away powerful forces of religious and political leaders. Before the revolution Iran was a seemingly secular country and a hub of culture, however since then, the introduction of heavy Islamic law by the highly conservative cleric leadership saw the rights of women diminish within the society and today Iran imposes heavy restrictions on the rights and equality of on the female gender.

Iran's Supreme Leader today is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was appointed for life in June 1989, succeeding Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic.

All media in Iran is run by the state and any outlets who speak out for pro-reform have now been closed, with their contributors and editors imprisoned.