Gender Wage Gap in Luxembourg
Luxembourg has become the first and only country to date to eliminate the gender wage gap. As of 2021, the gender wage gap in Luxembourg between women and men stands at about -0.2%, meaning, on average, women earned 0.2% more than men hourly in 2021. Luxembourg is the only country already taking this big step in the direction of total workplace gender equality, with the country with the second smallest wage gap, Romania, still exhibiting a gap of about 3.6% in 2021. 

The possibility of the elimination of the wage gap is also due to the higher education that many women receive. Many women in Luxembourg have higher levels of education than men, allowing women as a whole to work higher-paying jobs and earn more than men overall, greatly contributing to Luxembourg’s elimination of the wage gap. While women still receive less pay in certain sectors of employment like real estate and tech, where employers favor men by more than 20%, other areas like arts and entertainment favor women by more than 15%, making women on average earn about 7% higher than men as a whole. 

How Did Luxembourg Eliminate the Wage Gap? 

The elimination of the gender wage gap in Luxembourg was a long journey that began to pick up speed in 2016 when the country passed a law based on economic equality between genders. The law was a part of the country’s Labor Code and stated that any inequality between genders in the workplace would result in serious fines to the employer. This resulted in any difference in pay without genuine justification could cause an employer to have to pay between 251 and 25,000 euros, depending on the severity of the difference. This, obviously, discouraged many employers in their attempt to enforce gender-based pay cuts in their workplaces. 

The “Actions Positive” Program

The country also has a program called “Actions Positive” which the Ministry of Equality between Women and Men enforces, the section of the Luxembourg government focused on gender-based issues and equality. This program defends both men and women in cases dealing with gender-based discrimination in the workplace. As of 2019, the program held 120 public representatives who defended anyone in need of legal assistance in cases concerning gender discrimination. The program also consistently organized a multitude of different campaigns that focused on different gender-based issues, like gender stereotypes and roles. 

The Gender Wage Gap in Part-time Employment

Unfortunately, the elimination of the wage gap in Luxembourg has only occurred in the case of full-time employment. When one takes part-time jobs into consideration, women earn an estimated 13% less than men in part-time jobs. This is because women are still much less likely to get consistent hours than men. One can attribute this to the stigma that women will often have to tend to obligations outside of work, like parenthood and home life. With almost a third of all employed women being part-time employees, this ideology places a huge dampener on the progress that Luxembourg has made thus far. 

Looking Ahead

With its great strides in gender equality advancement, the country’s policies concerning workplace gender bias are a paragon for other countries. Other countries that are struggling with extreme gender discrimination should study Luxembourg’s high focus on education for women and its methods surrounding closing the wage gap, considering it is one of the first countries to implement secure laws prohibiting gender wage differences and the first country to officially close the wage gap. 

– Allison Groves
Photo: Flickr