But only for one day.
Berlin has one of the biggest discrepancies between male and female salaries in all of Europe, with women earning 21% less than their male counterparts. In order to highlight the issue, women traveling on Berlin’s busses, trams, and metro will pay 21% less for tickets on March 18, Germany’s Equal Pay Day. The slogan for the “Frauenticket” awareness campaign is “Mind the pay gap.”
According to The Guardian, Germany ranks among the worst in Europe for pay inequality, alongside Estonia, the Czech Republic and the UK, each country with a gap of more than 20%.
And while I wouldn’t argue with a cheaper ticket, some say the campaign does little to effect real change, which might also be true:
“It’s as if you’d raise a small child’s pocket money just once by €1.50,” says Maren Jasper-Winter, women’s spokesperson for the pro-business FDP party in the Berlin House of Representatives. “This doesn’t help any woman and is completely irrelevant in view of the challenges for equal rights in the world of work.”
Even the organization that runs public transport in Berlin, the BVG, has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to issues of inequality. The Guardian reports that just one-fifth of its employees are women, though it hired a female CEO (its first) in 2010.
“You have to speak out when people are treated differently for no reason,” BVG said in a statement. “This is a small gesture of solidarity, though it is nothing in comparison with what women are deprived of in income every year.”