Despite the 1970 Equal Pay Act, it has been found that women earn less than men – the gap stands at 19.1 per cent. While the distance has fallen from 27.5 per cent in 1997, this figure is above the EU 2014 average of 16.4 per cent.In 2014 the average full time hourly pay for women was £12.31 compared with £7.95 for part-time. Some 62 per cent of workers who are paid below the Living Wage, which is set at £7.65, are women. According to Daisy Sands, policy manager at the Fawcett Society, a “fundamental” reason which keeps mothers in poorly paid positions is the cost of childhood – something she refers to as a “motherhood penalty”. Britain is among the most expensive nations in Europe, which had prompted Labour politicians to pledge they would increase bank levys to fund free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds. Sands said: “Women in the UK still tend to do the lion’s share of childcare. Add to this the lack of flexible working opportunities and prohibitively expensive childcare, and we face a situation where, for women, work all too often doesn’t pay. This ‘motherhood penalty’ is most keenly illustrated in the nation’s capital – Londoners face the highest costs for childcare in the country.” The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has suggested that this “gender-related market failure” costs the UK economy between £15bn and £23bn each year, while “solving the problem” could add 1.3 per cent to 2.0 per cent to GDP. Read more about the gender gap:
- Is gender pay gap down to discrepancies in bonuses?
- CBI calls for action on pay gap
- Women urged to go global to finally close the gender pay gap
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