It's official: Irish women still earn 17% less than Irish men.

According to a new study commissioned by the EU, the Gender Pay Gap report shows that in 2009, 254,000 men earned more than 50,000, with just 123,000 women earning the same salary.

Social expectations still play a huge part in income inequality in Ireland. Decades after the signature battles of the women's movement were fought, Irish women are still expected to provide primary responsibility for care of their children and that expectation is one of the main reasons cited for ongoing discrepancies in pay.

Acting CEO of the National Women's Council Orla O'Connor told the Irish Examiner that introducing paternity leave could help bring about more equality between the sexes.

"Ireland stands out in Europe in that there's no legislative leave for fathers and that's giving a strong message about who should be doing the caring," O'Connor said. "So there should absolutely be paternity leave and that need to be put in place immediately."

In the Gender Pay Gay report the EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote: "European Equal Pay Day reminds us of the days and hours that women have been working 'for free' since January 1. The principle of equal pay for equal work is written in the EU Treaties since 1957. It is high time that it is put in practice everywhere."

Irish women make more when they don’t have kidsGetty Images/Hemera