November 3 at 11:44am, French Women will Walk Out of Work

© Boris Horvat, AFP | A woman holds an "Equality" banner at an International Women’s Day demonstration in Marseille.

Last year, on Monday, November 7th, at 4:34pm, French women shut their laptops, took off their gear, locked their office doors, and walked out of work. This date and time mark the point in the year when women are effectively no longer paid for their work because of the gender wage gap, a phenomenon where women are paid less than men for the same work. This year, they’ll be walking out of work again, unfortunately, at an earlier time: November 3rd, at 11:44am.

A feminist magazine called Les Glorieuses calculated the walk-out date and time and made the call to action. Since last year’s walk-out, the gender wage gap in France has risen to 15.8%, up from 15.1%. “By being paid 15.8% less than men (in equal positions, according to numbers published by Eurostat in 2017), women work ‘for free’ for 39.7 work days,” the authors explained in the report.

The statement is meant to be bold — since they are paid 15.8% less than their male counterparts, they should work 15.8% less. The walk-out intends to bring attention to the issue and spark change. In April 2017, Iceland’s parliament presented a bill requiring companies prove that their pay is fair after women in Iceland walked out on October 24th for 11 years at the time corresponding to that year’s gender wage gap.

At the current rate, it will take 169 years for the gender gap in France to close and women to be paid equally with men.