INTERVIEW. “They have to dare”: the president of the Parity Observatory in Occitanie talks to us about pay inequality

INTERVIEW. “They have to dare”: the president of the Parity Observatory in Occitanie talks to us about pay inequality

Geneviève Tapié is president of the Observatory of Parity in Occitanie. Midi Libre – ANNICK KOSCIELNIAK

In Occitania, the wage gap between men and women is 17%. Geneviève Tapié, president of the Regional Parity Observatory, explains to us where this imbalance comes from and how to remedy it.

What is the situation in Occitanie ?

The employability rate of women is lower in Occitanie. Salary inequalities are constant, it's a quarter less. This mainly concerns the four coastal departments of Languedoc-Roussillon. Paradoxically, these are the most populated. This is where we see that there are fewer of women who work or who are part-time, which opens up to precariousness. It’it’women are at the head of debt reduction cases. 

Have initiatives to combat wage inequalities been put in place in Occitanie ?

The Parity Observatory proposed action within the framework of a blue economy, that is to say the economy of the coastal departments, which we know is It is an important sector for the future and for the development of employment. The Parliament of the Sea has taken the matter in hand and will carry out an experiment to direct women and direct them towards careers in the blue economy that have meaning and added value (crane operator, dockworker). They are well paid. A crane operator earns 40% more than a qualified worker. We are currently doing it in Sète, then we will do it in Grau-du-Roi and Port-la-Nouvelle.

How to explain this gap ?

Wage inequalities are quite widespread. To move to the next level, you have to be in the networks. However, in companies, networking takes place in the evening during convivial moments. But women can go less often because they are generally the ones who have to take care of their children. Same thing in a couple, when one of them has to stay very late at the office, it's often the man. Women's careers are more difficult to develop quickly.

Should we rethink the way we work ?

Yes. In Germany, for example, it is unthinkable to start a meeting after 3:30 p.m., to be able to pick up the children from school. We must rethink the system of work, of the company, of the community… It’s not just index points or collective agreements that play a role. We also need to trust women more. There is also the question of breastfeeding and maternity leave. In job interviews, even if it's forbidden to ask, women often marked "pregnancy" on the forehead. 

How can women find a place in business ?

They need to have audacity, to convince themselves that they have the same professional value as a male colleague. They are less daring to apply for senior positions. Often women are paid less because during the job interview, they do not dare to ask for high salaries. Behind, society must allow women to exercise their professional activity with complete peace of mind. Young couples, from the moment careers are established, must be able to practice their profession without having problems with the nanny or the lack of crèche. There is a shortage of 500,000 places in France, that too must be integrated.

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