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Trade union says gender wage gap is growing in Sweden

Published torsdag 3 mars 2016 kl 15.45
Swedish Trade Union Confederation head Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson. File photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT
Swedish Trade Union Confederation head Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson. File photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT

Female blue-collar workers earn 73 percent less than their male counterparts in Sweden according to the gender-equality barometer published by Sweden's Trade Union Confederation Thursday.

The main explanation for this wage gap is that women are more likely to have part-time jobs.

"Judging from the Swedish debate about salaries, one would think that women are starting to catch up, but that's because women's part-time wages tend to be converted to their full-time equivalents before the stats are presented," the Trade Union Confederation head Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson tells Swedish Radio News.

When you look at actual salaries - what ends up in women's and men's pockets - there are big differences, claims Thorwaldsson, who says women earn 73 percent less than men.

Thorwaldsson also insisted that men's and women's work are judged differently and that goes for all sectors, he insists.

"This is the most medieval phenomenon we have left in Sweden, that there is such a big difference between how we treat men's and women's jobs and it happens in all fields and in all sectors," says Thorwaldsson.

The latest income statistics published in Sweden are from 2014. Since then, many municipalities and county councils have begun to offer employees the right to full-time work.

Thorwaldsson believes the gender wage gap will soon narrow.

"I do believe we will catch up and that women's wages will increase but so far it hasn't happened," says Thorwaldsson.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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