EPIC coalition is launched in Panama to close pay gap between women and men in Latin America and the Caribbean


Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama

- The wage gap in the region is 15 percent: ILO.

- The EPIC coalition, an initiative led by the ILO, UN Women and the OECD, seeks to mobilize different actors to achieve equality by the year 2030.

- The launching act was headed by the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela.


The Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) was launched in Latin America and the Caribbean, to mobilize multiple actors in different countries to reduce the wage gap between women and men, which is around 15 percent in this region according to data released at the presentation in the capital of Panama.

"It corresponds to this Coalition the task of articulating policies, promoting and adopting measures and concrete actions to increase the participation of women in the labor market," said Juan Carlos Varela, President of Panama, during the launch ceremony held in the Ministry of Foreign Relations, in Panama City.

"We must guarantee through different mechanisms, including legal instruments, the measures that ensure that men and women have an equal salary," he added.

The EPIC, promoted by the International Labor Organization (ILO), UN Women and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was launched globally in September 2017 within the framework of the UN General Assembly.

Since its launch, EPIC seeks to integrate multiple public and private actors with the purpose of contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular Goal 8.5, to achieve equal remuneration between women and men for work of equal value by 2030.

During the event, the Vice President and Chancellor of Panama, Isabel de Saint Malo, was named Champion of the EPIC leadership platform, representing Latin America and the Caribbean.

"With pride, Panama becomes the first country in the region to join the EPIC, and the second in the world to launch it. For our active participation in the 2030 Agenda, I receive the honorable distinction of being the regional Champion in the matter," said the Vice President.

Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director of UN Women for the Americas and the Caribbean, celebrated the launch of EPIC in the region, considering that "alliances between multiple sectors, such as international organizations, governments, public and private sector, are key to closing the wage gap, which will have a direct impact on the development of the region."

"Collaborating with EPIC is an integral part of our mission," said Roberto Martinez Yllescas, Director of the OECD Center in Mexico for Latin America during the launching ceremony, adding that "the OECD also calls to achieve these goals by working with all relevant actors, including the private sector, government agencies, trade unions, chambers of the employer sector, as well as civil society organizations. "

The Director of the ILO for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar, stressed that "despite the efforts made during all these years, the wage gap persists in the region." Between 2005 and 2015 the difference was reduced by 6 points to 15 percent, he added, a level that "does not allow us to guarantee that anyone is left behind" on the road to development.

The launch of EPIC seeks to involve in strategies and actions aimed at promoting equal pay to government entities - such as ministries responsible for labor and employment, ministries responsible for gender and national statistics offices - national and international organizations of employers and workers, regional organizations, relevant UN agencies, development partners, private sector, civil society organizations and academia, to close the gender pay gap globally.

The organizations that promote EPIC are projecting the regional launches of the coalition. This week, on the 1st of February, the presentation in Asia Pacific is scheduled.

The launch that was made this Monday in conjunction with the Government of Panama will be followed by a Regional Conference on Equal Pay for Men and Women for more prosperous and inclusive economies, which will be inaugurated on Tuesday, January 30, and the next day will be concluded with a forum national on this same topic.