France Pioneers Gender Equality With ‘Anti-Wage Gap Software'

Conseil d'etat in Paris | © Wikicommons / David Monniaux
Conseil d'etat in Paris | © Wikicommons / David Monniaux
Photo of Jade Cuttle
14 March 2018

The gender pay gap is a sad reality with numerous studies proving that men are paid more on average than women over their lifetimes. However, in a step to combat this issue once and for all, France is pioneering gender equality by developing cutting edge ‘anti-wage gap software’. The pay gap between men’s and women’s salaries in France is 9%, despite the fact that law requiring equal pay for the same work was introduced 35 years ago.

But in a bid to show that the authorities are serious about fixing the wage gap in France, bringing equality to both sides of the population, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently announced the government’s plans to bring cutting-edge software into the equation.

Olivier Merle and Édouard Philippe (right) | © Philippe Alès / Wikicommons

France has been developing software that can be directly linked to a company’s payroll system, drawing inspiration from similar software tools that have already shown their success in Switzerland and Luxembourg. The purpose of the new software is to pick up on any unjustified pay gaps and bring this injustice to the attention of the law.

It will initially be put in place for businesses with more than 250 employees but, if all goes well, the software will be rolled out to smaller companies of 50 to 249 employees as well. The French government hopes to accomplish this by 2020 at the latest.

Conseil d’etat in Paris | © Wikicommons / David Monniaux

As well as the new software, the French government will increase by four times the frequency of unannounced company inspections, ensuring that business are obeying salary regulations.

They will give companies a three-year period to comply with the law, ensuring the pay is equal, or else they will face hefty fines. These fines could be up to 1% of the firm’s wage bill.
“These unjustified wage gaps are pure discrimination and, despite a legislative arsenal on the issues, things are not moving forward,” said the Labour Ministry, as reported by The Local.

“The software is not a magic wand, but it will reveal certain differences in the pay between men and woman,” Philippe told journalists.

The conversation on the pay gap has been a hot topic across France. For example, only recently did the French film industry launch a major gender equality movement under the name of Collectif 5050×2020. More than 300 professionals from across the cinema world have already signed up to demand more equality and diversity.

The data reveals a shocking gender imbalance | © Siebbi / Wikicommons

The collective has launched a new website to explain its aims against a detailed backdrop of data highlighting gender imbalances in the world of French cinema, focusing not only on wage gaps but also on how women’s presence is minimal across the awards and nominations.

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