Equal pay is a means of curbing one of the dimensions of discrimination: making sure that same tasks have same remuneration. Why is this fundamentally important in the industry sector?

50. Triunfo biscuit factory. 1947-1997. Teófilo Rego Archive, Casa da Imagem – Manuel Leão Foundation, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.


The composition of leadership is very important in promoting different solutions and advancements in the different industrial sectors and shaping change. What kind of consequences can gender gaps in the leadership of different industry sectors generate as these face major challenges and need of reform brought by climate change, and digital revolutions?

51. The owner of one of the knitwear factories with other industrialists. Ca 1930. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Equal pay means equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value meaning that payment rates cannot be set as to entail any discrimination based on sex/gender, leading to an overall pay gap.

This right, rooted on the prohibition of discrimination, has been regulated by different legal instruments at international, regional (as in the EU), and national levels and naturally includes the industry sectors. However, in practice, in many cases, women still earn less than men for work of equal value.

Equal pay applies to all components of remuneration including overtime, cash value benefits, work materials, family allowances and benefits, supplements, or incentives, among others.

While equal pay is extensively and comprehensively regulated, there are many reasons that contribute to a pay gap, including in the industry sector. Women continue to mostly work in relatively low-paying sectors, namely care, education and low-skilled industrial tasks whereas men are over-represented in highly paid sectors, including qualified industrial and technological positions and tasks, engineering, and mathematics.

Additionally, women are disproportionately affected by glass ceilings as their representation in senior management positions is residual. Not surprisingly, women also tend to work less hours a week as they take on more unpaid care tasks when compared to men, despite EU efforts to promote equal sharing of parental leave, policies on flexible working hours, and public childcare offer.