Women in Berlin will receive a 21% discount on public transportation tickets for Equal Pay Day on March 18.
The initiative is to highlight the country’s 21% gender pay gap, Berlin’s BVG transit authority operator announced Tuesday. The “Frauenticket,” which translates to the “women ticket,” will reduce the cost of a day ticket in the inner two zones of Berlin from €7 to €5.50, according to Politico.
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The news comes after the city marked International Women’s Day a bank holiday for the first time on March 8. BVG anticipates men might question the need for the reduced rate.
“Most men from Berlin will not only understand this action, but support it, especially since this small gesture of solidarity is disproportionate to what women are deprived of in income on a yearly basis," the company said.
BVG’s operator apologized to men who feel discriminated by the discount but asked, “Who apologizes to the women who earn on average 21% less?”
High levels of inequality persist around the world, and the pay gap is only one way to measure it –– women globally are paid 63% of what men receive. Germany scores a 71.4 out of 100 in the work category on the European Institute for Gender Equality’s Gender Equality Index, which measures the progress in achieving gender equality across the EU.
Social media users in Berlin are skeptical about how the city’s one-day effort will change financial disparities between men and women in the long run. Despite rolling out a salary transparency rule in 2018, Germany’s gender pay gap hasn’t improved yet and has steadily remained at 21% for two years. Some users called BVG’s announcement a “gimmick,” while others said they think it’s going to take more than a single day discount to make up for the wage gap.
Emm, yes please BVG. It's a gimmick, but I'll take it. https://t.co/UFEiPSTVq9— Carrie M. King (@ARhoticStory) March 13, 2019
never enough to cover the massive pay gap. https://t.co/GK38ijrk70— Matteo Pescarin (@ilpeach) March 13, 2019
Great initiative @BVG to highlight the gender pay gap in Germany. However, we need more than great gestures. Let's have an honest and productive conversation about how to effect change. https://t.co/CFFnThzCWr— Angela Pilath (@angela_pilath) March 12, 2019
I haven't decided what I feel about this stunt...https://t.co/jSLDxpUmy6— Candice (@candicissima) March 12, 2019
BVG is also working on supporting women within its own company, by aiming to increase female representation in its workforce from 20% to 27% by 2022, according to Politico.
To effectively reduce gender inequality and wage gaps, the World Economic Forum suggests countries should focus on policies that improve education, health, infrastructure, increasing financial inclusion, and promoting equal rights.