UN launches "Equal Pay Platform of Champions" to accelerate efforts

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Oscar Award-winning American actress Patricia Arquette speaking at the launch of the Equal Pay Platform of Champions at the UN General Assembly in New York. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Award-winning American actress Patricia Arquette and soccer superstar Amy Wambach have joined the UN and a diverse group of gender equality advocates to launch an "Equal Pay Platform of Champions.”

The announcement was made at an event organized by UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO), on the margins of the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Members of the platform include leaders from trade unions, civil society, government, private sector and film-makers.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

On global average, women only make 77 cents for every dollar men earn, the UN estimates.

One of the main reasons for the gender pay gap is that women do not hold the same jobs as men, such as teaching, healthcare or childcare. And these sectors are the ones that are often underpaid.

The Equal Pay Champions aim to raise awareness on this critical issue and proactively reach out to decision and policy-makers to ask for their political support.

Patricia Arquette made headlines in 2015 when she used her Oscar acceptance speech to shine a light on this problem in the Hollywood film industry and in the US.

Since then, she has been an ardent supporter of gender wage equality.

Here's Ms Arquette:

"There is still this ongoing great robbery of 23 per cent  of women's salary globally, so it's still obviously a big issue. I mean, when I look at my own country, when I look at the United States, yes, there has been several great new "fair pay" laws but will they really be upheld? Will there be the will to prosecute, to actually investigate to that level? We don't know.  And then there's many states, especially the ones that are most needed, where women are paid the least and the gender gap is the biggest, there are no lawmakers introducing laws. And in many ways we are seeing  womens' rights being rolled back in America so it's a tenuous time to be sure, and I think that it’s very important that women have equality in the United States and throughout the world."

Meanwhile, UN Women has kicked off a campaign called #StopTheRobbery to show how women across the world are in effect being "robbed" of 23 per cent of their salary.

#StoptheRobbery plays cleverly on 23 per cent of characters of twitter messages being blacked out, and invites people to spread the word by sharing social media messages in support of income equality. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’05″

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