A woman's euro is 76 cents: Pension data shines light on pay inequality

The gender pay gap is bigger than previously thought, according to comprehensive wage data published on Thursday.

In Finland, women earn much less than men. Image: AOP

Finnish women get an average of 76 cents for every euro paid to men, according to new data from the Finnish Centre for Pensions. The highest wages are paid to those in their 40s and 50s, according to the data, as those age cohorts have received numerous pay rises and are still able to work full weeks.

According to the Pensions Centre the average earnings of a woman amount to 2,470 euros per month, compared to 3,260 euros for a man. That equates to a difference of 24 cents for every euro earned by the average man.

Often in Finland the gender pay gap is calculated using figures from Statistics Finland, which show that a "woman's euro is 84 cents", but those don't take into account part-time work or extended leaves which can crater a women's lifetime earnings.

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Image: Laura Merikalla / Yle

The Confederation of Finnish industries, meanwhile, says that a women's euro is actually 97 cents, reaching that figure by only comparing work in similar sectors. Other comparisons take into account the fact that women are over-represented in low-paid sectors of the economy.

According to Merja Kauhanen of the Labour Institute for Economic Research, women make up around 70 percent of part-time workers and some 60 percent of those on temporary contracts.

The data show that average pay in Finland begins to decline at the age of 50, and by the age of 60 men's earnings are level with those of 30-year-olds. The figures show a workforce that is far from overpaid, according to Jari Kannisto of the Pensions Centre.

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Image: Laura Merikalla / Yle

"When you consider the cost of living in this country, then people in Finland get by on pretty low incomes," said Kannisto. "A few people have huge incomes, but the average for the great mass of people is pretty low."

The biggest earnings in Finland go to fortysomething men, who average north of 4,000 euros. Women at the same age earn an average of around a thousand euros a month less than that.