Why women have been working for free since Friday, November 4 at 9:10 a.m.

Women started working for free from 9:10 a.m. on Friday, November 4, according to the feminist newsletter “Les Glorieuses”. This symbolic date and time were calculated from European statistics detailing the wage gap between women and men in France.

This year, women earn on average 15.8% less than men, according to the European statistics body, Eurostat. “Les Glorieuses” started from this percentage and then related it to the number of working days, i.e. worked, in 2022, which amounted to 253. However, 15.8% of 253 days are equivalent to 39.974 working days.

Last year, the pay gap reached 16.5%

The 39 days lead to fixing the date of the start of women’s “volunteering” on November 4. There remains 0.974 days, which corresponds to 409.08 minutes of a 7-hour working day, ie 6 hours and 49 minutes. What precisely set the time of free labor at 9:10 and 55 seconds.

Last year, the pay gap reached 16.5%, which led to the symbolic date being determined on November 3 at 9:22 a.m. The year 2022 therefore marks a very slight improvement.

Like every year, “Les Glorieuses” have launched a petition to demand, in particular, an increase in wages for very feminized professions. Because the wage gap can be partly explained by the fact that women occupy jobs that are less well valued in terms of wages, such as in the care and education sectors.

They also plead in favor of changing maternity and paternity leave, another factor of inequality, drawing inspiration from Swedish law to offer leave to be shared between the two parents.

More women stop working to care for their children

The birth of children continues to affect the activity of mothers more than that of fathers since more women than men stop working to take care of their children. According to the INSEE study on wage inequality published in 2020, 81% of mothers in a couple are active compared to 96% of fathers. Another explanation for wage gaps: the presence of part-time work among women (three times more than for men).

“There remains an unexplained part of the gap, which may reflect occupational segregation”, points out Insee. Thus, in the private sector, with comparable characteristics for the same profession exercised within a given establishment, the wage gap between women and men is on average 5.3% in 2017.

According to Eurostat figures, France remains among the worst European students. It is just behind the Netherlands (14.2% wage difference), Denmark (13.9%). On the other hand, it is ahead of Germany (more than 18%) and the United Kingdom (19.8%).


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