Women travelling on Berlin's public transport system on Monday will pay 21% less than men in an initiative designed to draw awareness to the gender pay gap.
At 21%, Germany's gender pay gap is even more gaping than the UK's, which now stands at a shade under 18%.
Under the one-day initiative titled "Mind the pay gap", female passengers will be able to purchase a "Frauenticket" giving them access to central Berlin's metro, bus and tram networks for €5.50 instead of the usual €7.00.
“You have to speak out when people are treated differently for no reason,” Berlin's transport operator BVG writes on its website.
"It is not our intention that men feel discriminated against by the action. If that happens, we apologise. On the other hand, who apologises to the women who earn on average 21% less? Most men of Berlin will not only understand this action, but also support it. Especially since this small gesture of solidarity is disproportionate to what women are deprived of income on a yearly basis."
BVG has chosen 18th March as its "mind the pay gap day" because Germany's 21% gender pay gap means that women essentially work for free for the first 77 days of the year.
In 2018, the UK's gender pay gap day fell on 10th November, – exactly the same day it fell on in 2017 and 2016. This date reflects the fact that owing to the gap, women would essentially be working for free from then until the end of the year; it's just a reverse way of looking at the problem compared to Germany's.
So, if our gender pay gap day falls on 10th November again in 2019, it seems as though there's plenty of time for Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester and other local transport providers to consider introducing their own "mind the pay gap" initiatives.
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