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Power to women for European Elections in Pärnu; closing the gender pay gap!

PES Women demonstrate in PärnuToday, the Social Democratic Party of Estonia (SDE) is hosting this years 3rd event of the Equal Pay Action Days. Between 9 and 21 April different actions and gatherings are organised to raise awareness and mark the Equal Pay Day in Estonia, which is the highest in the EU reaching 30%. Thanks to KADRI, the SDE women's organisation, the Equal Pay Day as well as an Action Plan by the government were put into place in 2011 and yearly specific recommendations and actions have been put forward to reduce and eventually close the gender pay gap.

This year the SDE, KADRI, Marianne Mikko, PES Women Executive Member, SDE Party Leader Sven Mikser together with PES Women decided to mark the day with a conference taking place in Pärnu. Apart from the conference a petition has been launched http://petitsioon.ee/palgalohe-tuleb-likvideerida, collecting signatures to be handed over to the Prime Minister on 21 April putting forward 5 specific recommendations;

1) increasing ​the minimum wage;

2)​ public and transparent wage system;

3)​ at least 40 % of both women and men should be appointed to the management bodies of companies that are listed on a stock exchange or belong to the government;

4) 'zip system' for ​candidates on election lists ‒ i.e. male and female candidates should alternate in such lists;

5)​ comply with existing Gender Equality Act.

Zita Gurmai PES Women President opened the conference and joined Estonian progressive women in their street action Pärnu and Tallinn. 'I support and am proud of the work the SDE has done so far, but if we want to give real power to women for the European election and beyond, we need to do more and that is why the PES together with the Common candidate Martin Schulz make closing the Gender Pay Gap a priority in our Manifesto.' Zita Gurmai stated in her speech.

Marianne Mikko, MEP Candidate and PES Women Executive Member stated, "The average monthly wage for Estonian women is 30% less than for Estonian men, compared to 16% EU average. This is the biggest gap in Europe. We celebrate the Equal Pay Day following good examples from Belgian women’s organisation Zij-Kant and this is the fourth European Equal Pay Day. Estonia has discussed the issue for quite some time, however the work seems endless so today we hope to show that there is a way." 

Follow the event live on  http://www.mariannemikko.ee/konverents and through the hashtag #palgalõhe2014.

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