Harm Jagerman

When is the gender pay gap really going to change?

On the International Equal Pay Day, we mostly reflect on how not to do things. The only question is, when are things going to change? When is the gender pay gap going to change?


It is a bit confusing. The European Union has a similar day and it falls on 15 November 2023. Internationally, there is a similar day and it falls on 18 September. The issue is so important that we need to think about it more than once. Yet there is still a pay gap.

To make things even more complicated: several countries in the European Union also have their days that are known as Equal Pay Days. Take for instance The Netherlands. This day takes place on 14 November. On this day we are supposed to think about the gender pay gap. So there are three occasions when we’re supposed to think about this. Before you misunderstand: the gender pay gap is important. The only problem is: what happens on other days?

There are plenty of people who think there is nothing at all. Besides, if something is going on then there are all logical explanations.


It all comes down to making choices, right? Try harder! Solve your issues. If it’s all a matter of working more hours, decide to work more hours! If you’re not happy with your monthly paycheck, well quit your job and find another position. Start negotiations like a boss! Hell, work harder! Everything will work itself out.

If only it was that easy! Days like these would no longer be necessary. Everyone would be paid equally.

Hold on, we’re not focussing on ‘just’ the difference between women and men. There’s more! Imagine that you are a woman and you are part of a minority group. Then again, what constraints or obstacles do you face and how does that affect your salary? Have you ever thought about that. Well, if you are that person, you have thought about this a million times! Perhaps more than that!

Background and gender identity

It doesn’t stop there, unfortunately. It makes sense to think about how your background affects your career. But wait gender identity is also very important! Hell, now think of the identities you don’t want to classify under the ‘standard’ cis identities. Just as important, just as poorly rewarded at certain points and yet they all do the same job as men.


Let’s just name it for what it is: this is discrimination. On any ground. Gender, gender identity or perhaps there is a whole other fine reason to name. The nine-month absence due to a (possible) pregnancy. It doesn’t matter. A ‘perfect’ reason can always be thought of.

More than just salary

It’s about more than just salary. It is about opportunities, even dreams. Most of all, it’s also about others preventing things. Based on false claims and role patterns.

“The best man for the job,” is no longer tenable. This should be “The best person for the job.” The problem here: not everyone will agree. A quota will be met with protest when it concerns women. Does this also apply when things shift? When the tables are turned and there’s a (fictional) quota for men? By that I mean a minimum number of men in certain positions. When it comes down to quotas for women, suddenly it’s all about people. When it comes to men, this seems to be forgotten, so it seems.

Not the first time

It’s not the first time, I’ve written about this subject and will not be the last time. Over the past few years, I covered this subject several times. The only question is: how long will it be necessary to do this? How long do we need to discuss this? Well, the answer is simple: as long as it hasn’t changed, there’s need to discuss this.

As long as there is unequal pay based on gender, gender identity, ethnicity or even age, there is a need for such days. The danger of such days is only: their limitation. That it remains focused on just these days.


Tomorrow is also a good day to discuss it. Just like the day after. Tomorrow is also a great day to change things. Just like the day after. So that this day can eventually be renamed into something else. A day when we commemorate that this was the start of that change. Wouldn’t that be incredibly beautiful? As far as I’m concerned, it would be!

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