Women will effectively ‘work for free’ for the next 57 days, due to an increase in the gender pay gap. The difference between male and female salaries means that from yesterday – known as Equal Pay Day – only men will be paid for their work until the New Year. It means that this year’s Equal Pay Day has come three days earlier than in 2013, when it fell on November 7. Women currently earn, on average, £2.53 less per hour than men do. That equates to 80 pence for every pound a man is paid.
Tuesday November 4 marked the day in the year when women in full-time jobs effectively begin to work for free as they are, on average, paid 15.7 per cent less per year than their male counterparts. To mark this date campaigners have created Equal Pay Day, a day to highlight the fact that despite the Equal Pay Act being introduced in Britain over 40 years ago by the Labour Party, gender pay inequality still exists. The TUC estimates that just one in 15 women who are working full-time earn £50,000 or more per year, compared to one in seven men.
The study also found that even within the same sectors, where men and women work comparable jobs, there are still stark differences in pay:
Women working full-time as senior education professionals earn over £13,000 (22.3 per cent) a year less, on average, than their male peers.
Full-time female solicitors earn over £10,000 (20.2 per cent) a year less, on average, than their male counterparts.
Although some critics suggest that factors such as the career paths women lead and the likelihood that women take career breaks for childbirth distort the figures, the Fawcett Society argues that jobs traditionally done by women, such as cleaning, catering and caring, are undervalued and paid less than jobs traditionally done by men, such as construction, transportation and skilled trades. For those under 40 and in full-time work, the gender pay gap is at almost zero, but problems remain.
The majority of unpaid care for children and elderly relatives is undertaken by women, which means they also make up the majority of the part-time workforce – an area where the gender pay gap is vast. Women working part-time earn 34 per cent less per hour, on average, than men working full-time. The TUC notes that Equal Pay Day for women working part-time was way back on August 28.
A recent report by the World Economic Forum has also showed that Britain has slipped out of the top 20 countries for equality – falling behind countries like Bulgaria, Burundi and Nicaragua in terms of education, career and health markers. That study showed that while the average wage for women had fallen from £18,000 to £15,400, the average salary for men had remained at £24,800.
In August, the Fawcett Society reported that 820,000 women had moved into low paid, insecure jobs since the start of the recession in 2008 and said that women were being shut out of the recovery. Last year it was also reported that female graduates can expect to earn thousands less than their male counterparts even when they studied the same subject, at the same university or achieved the same UCAS score.
Full report here: Some way to go?
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