“With a full-time employee, we see that the wage gap between men and women has really decreased very sharply,” says Wendy Schelfaut of Statbel. “The difference is almost completely eliminated for full-time workers.” But the fact that the wage gap nearly closes in about a year has a lot to do with the 2020 coronavirus that the numbers relate to.
“It’s a catch-up movement and it really isn’t,” says Wendy Shelfout. “In 2020, many people have been forced to start part-time work or return to part-time unemployment. This has often been the case with people with less education. Especially in Wallonia, we have seen the number of full-time working women working in restaurants or shops decrease very sharply, much more than full-time working men.”
As a result, in the 2020 figures, in terms of full-time employees, relatively more highly educated women compared to less educated men, such that the wage gap has artificially narrowed somewhat during the Corona year as higher educated usually earn more. So the picture is somewhat distorted.
Moreover, the gap between men and women is still large among part-time workers. If we also include this group, the wage gap in Belgium remains above 16 percent. “I’m afraid the catch-up movement will not be fully demonstrated when we get the numbers for the next years. That’s specifically around 2020,” says Shelfoot.
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