Women in Malta earn almost half of what men get, the second-highest gap across the European Union.

According to figures issued by the European Commission to mark Equal Pay Day, the overall gender earnings gap in Malta stands at 45.6 per cent, higher than in most EU Member States, with the average standing at 39.6 per cent.

The figure compares the annual earnings of men and women, considering three factors.

To work out the value, Eurostat measures the average hourly earnings, the monthly average of the number of hours paid and the employment rate on the average of all women of working age, whether employed or not, compared to men.

Only the Netherlands has a higher earnings gap than Malta’s.

Lithuania has the lowest gap

Dutchwomen earn 47.5 per cent less than their male counterparts.

Lithuania has the lowest gap at 19.2 per cent.

When compared to previous years, Malta’s earnings gap rate is noted as being on a downward trend. In 2010, the last available data prior to the year under review, it stood at 56.3 per cent.

The European Commission also published a breakdown of the gender pay gap in the different Member States. In Malta, this stood at 10.6 per cent, with the EU average being 16.3 per cent. The figure looks at the difference between the average annual earnings of men and women.

Equality Minister Helena Dalli acknowledged that the gender earnings gap in Malta remained very high.

“While the female employment rate has surged to above 50 per cent, up from 33 per cent in 2004, the gap between the male and female employment rates continues to be very high, which in turn correlates to the earnings gap quoted,” Dr Dalli said.

“This is why various initiatives, such as free childcare, were implemented during the past legislature, and government will continue to invest in initiatives in this legislature to empower women and facilitate their entry and retention into the labour market.”