IntroductionGender equality is an ever present problem. As female members of today’s society continue to try and reach an equal standing with their male counterparts. No other problem involving gender inequality is as widely spoken about than the gender pay gap. A common belief that women get paid significantly less compared to men. This report will seek to outline the gender pay gap situation in Germany and offer two methods to solve this problem. These two methods will be analysed and compared against each other in two specific factors: public acceptance and effectiveness. These two options are pay transparency and raising the minimum wage. BackgroundGermany is ranked 12th in the world on overall gender equality. Ranking first in literacy rates and the ratio of women to men employed in professional and technical roles (Schwab, K. et al., 2017) . However even with such a high ranking, Germany gender pay gap remains unusually high with 22%. This is higher than the EU’s average of 16.3%(The gender pay gap in Germany, 2017). Factors that are suspected to contribute to this are:Part-time employment- People employed part-time are paid less due to working less hour. Many part-time jobs also only pay minimum wage. In Germany 48.6% of working women only work part time compared to 20.5% of men working the same kind of job (Schwab, K. et al., 2017).Pay discrimination- Although illegal as stated in Germany’s constitution established in 1949 in Article 3 stating that “Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.” (Germany’s Constitution of 1949 with Amendments through 2012, 2012) is still present (The gender pay gap in Germany, 2017). However efforts to measure how much it actually contributes remains difficult.Lack of women in senior positions- Men are promoted more often compared to women. Resulting in them receiving a higher salary. Germany is ranked 74th in terms of the number of women in senior positions compared to men. 29.3% of women hold senior positions compared to 70.7% of men (Schwab, K. et al., 2017).Options3.1 Pay TransparencyPay transparency as explained by Ramachandran, G (2012) is the act of requiring companies to disclose the amount of money given to potential employees and allowing employees to freely discuss their compensation with one another without fear of retaliation. She states that this policy allows employees to better negotiate for salaries and raises. It also discourages pay discrimination whether intentional or unintentional by employers. However pay transparency also poses a number of problems namely that pay transparency may affect employees’ tendency to offer assistance to co-workers resulting in lower productivity (Bamberger, P. and Belogolovsky, E., 2017). Another problem is that employers will find it difficult to be able to differentiate which worker is working the hardest and justify why a particular employee is being paid more than his or her colleagues (Ramachandran, G., 2012). 3.2 Raising the Minimum WageThis policy involves raising the minimum wage. The reasoning behind this is that the previously mentioned 48.6% of working women working part-time and earning minimum wage will be paid more. Which results in reducing the overall pay gap. However according to Smith, P. and Rampell, C. (2009), Raising the minimum wage can also cause lost opportunities to create new jobs and for it to act as a stepping stone for more higher paying careers. It could also cause low incomers to be paid less in the long run as they might work less hours resulting in a reduced in salary.Requirements4.1 EffectivenessThe effectiveness of this options is important to Germany because as mentioned previously their gender pay gap is higher than the EU average. Indicating it is one of the larger contributors to the overall EU average. Thus reducing the gender pay gap in Germany will significantly reduce the overall gender pay gap in the EU. 4.2 Public Acceptance Public acceptance on the hand should take less of a priority as Germany citizens show a positive view on gender equality. A report released by the German Family Affairs Ministry on the “male perspectives” of gender equality revealed that 79 percent of respondents said that they believe equality is important for a cohesive society (Anderson, E., 2017).Comparison5.1 EffectivenessBoth methods have shown significant improvement on the gender wage gap. However when compared against each other pay transparency was shown to be the most effective with its effectiveness being 6 times as much compared to Raising the minimum wage. As Ramachandran, G. (2012) mentions, the gender wage gap in companies without transparency was 23% nearly twice as large when compared to the percentage for the federal government which was 11%. These results were taken in the US in 2011. In terms of gender equality. The US is ranked 49th in the world and 56th in estimated earned income between men and women (Schwab, K. et al., 2017). According to the report women earn 35% less compared to men. The causes of the gender pay gap in the US is also similar in Germany. Where women are more likely to work in lower paying occupations and receive fewer promotions and raises which stops them from climbing up the corporate ladder (Stevenson, B, 2017). Raising the minimum wage on the other hand, only decreases the gender pay gap by 2% as mentioned by Majchrowska, A. and Strawinski, P. (2017). Who conducted a study on the effects in the increase of minimum wage in Poland from 2006 to 2010. The policy seemed to have decrease the gender pay gap most significantly among young workers (in all groups between 20 and 39 years old). Poland is ranked 39th on gender equality as reported by Schwab, K. et al. (2017). However despite ranking lower than Germany the gender pay gap only stands at 7.7%. 8.6% lower than the EU’s overall average (The gender pay gap in Poland, 2017).5.2 Public AcceptanceAlthough both methods would likely to be supported by the majority of the public. Raising the minimum wage would be the most accepted especially by the younger demographic. This could be partially caused by the lack of insight on how it affects the overall economy (Smith, P. and Rampell, C., 2009). In 2015, Germany introduced a statutory minimum wage of €8.50. At the time Germany was one of only seven EU member states without a statutory minimum wage. A research article by Bruttel, O. et al. (2017) showed clear evidence that the introduction of the minimum wage led to an significant increase in hourly wage especially in sectors where a large amount of employees earned less than €8.50 before 2015. This was the case for employees in part-time jobs, individuals without professional training and women. There was also evidence that suggest that the policy may have contributed to an increase in employment. This makes increasing the minimum wage look more appealing to the general public. Pay transparency however would likely be disapproved by employers as they lose an advantage when negotiating pay as explained by Ramachandran, G. (2012). Critics such as Christian von Stetten, a lawmaker from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union or the CDU party also disapproves of the policy. Stating that “The right to demand salary information will foster workplace envy and discontent,”. (Cauterucci, C., 2017). ConclusionGermany has a higher gender pay gap than the EU overall AverageTwo methods were proposed to change this issue:Pay transparencyRaising the Minimum WagePay transparency has proven to be highly effective, and less publicly acceptable than the other policy.Raising the minimum wage is less effective than pay transparency, yet would be more publicly accepted. RecommendationOut of the two policies, pay transparency would be the most suitable option as it is more effective when compared to raising the minimum wage. Although raising the minimum wage would likely be more supported by the public due to a similar policy which was implemented. However effectiveness should take priority as Germany has one of the highest gender pay gap in Europe as well as being higher the the EU overall average.