Berlin’s public transportation authority BVG will charge women 21 percent less for tickets to ride the city’s metro, buses, and trams on March 18 to help draw attention to the country’s gender pay gap.
The discounted tickets will be available only on Germany’s Equal Pay Day, which takes place 77 days into the year to mark the number of days that activists say women effectively work for free. According to data from Eurostat, it takes a German woman 442 days to make the same amount of money that a man makes in a year.
“You have to speak out when people are treated differently for no reason,” wrote BVG 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.”
Unsurprisingly, a number of men expressed outrage about the plan on social media, condemning the initiative as unfair and possibly illegal. But BVG spokeswoman Petra Nelken said that the backlash was not only expected but desired.
“We knew we would be badmouthed for this,” said Nelken. “Of course this price gap feels unfair. But that’s the whole point: just for a day we just wanted to make the big pay gap feel tangible in ticket form. This is what women are up against every day.”
BVG has been led by a woman CEO, Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta, since 2010 — the first woman ever to lead the agency. Since Nikutta took over, BVG became profitable for the first time ever.
Read the full story at The Guardian.