EPIC calls to make sure that pay equity is at the forefront of global COVID-19 recovery
With women making up 90 per cent of the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce, measures to prioritise pay equity will always be of interest to the broader sector.
To mark the first International Equal Pay Day, held 18 September 2020, the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) called on global leaders to take necessary steps to ensure pay equity is at the heart of COVID-19 recovery efforts worldwide.
Led by the OECD, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Women, EPIC brings together a diverse set of actors and expertise to support governments, employers, workers, and their organisations to make concrete and co-ordinated progress to achieve equal pay for women and men everywhere.
As with the education and care sector, the global health workforce is dominated by women employees, and the advent of COVID-19, EPIC said, “has made visible that our economies and societies are built upon the essential, and often undervalued or unpaid labour of women and girls.”
“Women in the workforce have been disproportionately impacted in the short-term economic fallout of COVID-19” EPIC noted, outlining that workforce sectors, such as ECEC, that rely on physical interaction,are major employers of women and have been hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic.
To commemorate the first International Equal Pay Day, global leaders committed to take affirmative measures to narrow the pay gap. EPIC called governments, employers, workers and their organisations, the private sector, civil society and academia to ensure that integrated policy responses are aimed at mitigating the job and income losses, and to ensure that women do not end up disproportionately shouldering job losses and reductions in incomes resulting from the pandemic.
The message issued to global leaders called for a COVID-19 economic response that prioritises the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value as a key driver of inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery; recognises the value of unpaid care work; and provides access to affordable services, such as childcare and healthcare.
Sylvie Durrer, Director of Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality and Chair of the EPIC Steering Committee, underlined the importance of partnerships in this effort: “It is only together we can ensure that the response and recovery efforts lead to building a more inclusive and fair world of work”.
To learn more about EPIC and how to become involved, please visit the EPIC website, here.