At the beginning of 2018, the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, and women have become more confident in speaking up about their rights for equal pay and against sexual harassment or other frustrating discrimination by employers and other colleagues at the workplace.

In order for the gender gap to be closed at workplaces, a number of laws need to be rewritten, and what is more important – men need to adopt new overall attitudes towards female members of their staff.

According to a report from the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regarding gender equality issues, about two thirds of all member countries have already introduced new legislative changes and policies for resolving equal pay issues, and even more have started implementing paternity leave options. Overall though, the news is not so good. Statistics from the countries in the OECD show that the average female worker is still paid 15% less than males working at the same job position.

The report includes suggestions for ways in which the governments, the legal systems, the educational institutions and the private businesses can work towards resolving the persistent gap in gender employment. It also suggests pursuing more ways of stimulating girls to enter STEM careers as well as more boys entering jobs which are care related.

The OECD also asked that its 35 member countries come up with three best and most effective ways to deal with the barriers existing to female employment. Here is what is already being done:

  • The subsidies or benefits or rebates for public childcare have been increased in various countries including: Japan, Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia.
  • Free childcare was introduced in the UK and Norway.
  • Compulsory quotas for employment of females at private enterprises have been introduced in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, Norway and Israel.
  • Requirements for detailed disclosure regarding gender pay differences have been implemented in Japan, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, Lithuania and the UK.

As for the requirement by the OECD for the member countries to provide means of encouraging more men entering care-taking roles and jobs, the actions proposed are quite different, including:

  • 31 countries suggest measures for changing the attitudes of boys and men
  • 20 countries have proposed letting men take time off work for child care
  • 13 countries want to implement actions for better childcare.

So, the overall conclusion from this report and step towards resolving the standing problem with gender gaps in employment by the OECD is that women need new laws to be implemented and an overall attitude change for men is required in order for these inequalities to be resolved.

The good news is that many of the member countries are giving shared child caregiving a top priority, and already 10 countries are offering financial incentives to encourage more fathers to take parental leaves for at least a couple of months.

According to the member countries, the most urgent issues regarding gender inequalities are: violence against women, unequal payment of women and last but not least unequal sharing of care giving and household tasks. Let us see how they will act upon these worrying issues from now on!

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