BRUSSELS (AFP) - Women earned on average 16.4 per cent less than men in the European Union in 2013, with the gap even greater in many northern countries, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Thursday.
At 29.9 per cent, the biggest salary gap was in Estonia, followed by Austria at 23 per cent, the Czech Republic at 22.1 per cent and Germany at 21.6 per cent.
Britain stood at 19.7 per cent, France at 15.2 per cent and Ireland at 14.4 per cent.
At 3.2 per cent, the gap was narrowest in Slovenia, followed by Malta at 5.1 per cent, Poland at 6.4 per cent, Italy at 7.3 per cent and Croatia at 7.4 per cent.
The salary gap between women and men narrowed from 2008 to 2013 in most of the 28 EU countries, with the biggest decline in Lithuania, from 21.6 per cent to 13.3 per cent.
Poland, the Czech Republic and Malta also registered big declines.
However, the gap increased slightly in nine of the member states, led by Portugal, which rose from 9.2 per cent to 13 per cent.
Overall, the gap narrowed from 17.3 per cent in 2008 to 16.4 per cent in 2013.
Eurostat, which published the figures ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday, said the gap between women and men is not just in pay.
Two thirds of the directors, executives and managers are men, while two thirds of office workers are women.