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International Women's Day 2018 and Women's Pay Day for many!

JANUARY 21, 2020

It’s International Women’s Day today - a day to celebrate the many achievements of women as well as highlight the inequalities women continue to face in the workplace and society. Nearly 50 years since the Ford machinists went on strike at Dagenham, the UK still has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe.

But today is also Women’s Pay Day, the day when average women start getting paid compared to the average men and shocking findings from the TUC show that women effectively work for free for 67 days of the year (more than two months of the year) compared to the average man.

Since 2011 the full time pay gap has fallen by 0.2 per cent per year. The current Gender Pay Gap for all full time and part – time men and women is 18.4 per cent. The gender pay gap is closing at such a slow pace that the TUC have calculated that it would take over 40 years to reach pay parity between men and women.

And women are facing pay disparity in jobs and in sectors even where they dominate men such as education and health and social work.

  • The Pay Day for women working in the education sector is 7 April due to the gender pay gap of 26.5 per cent.
  • In health and social work the average woman has to wait until mid-March for Women’s Pay Day.

Women working in the financial sector have to wait the longest 130 days more than a third of the year. It’s not until the 10 May that women in the finance and insurance sector start to get paid.

The TUC has consistently stated that there are a number of factors that have resulted in the gender pay gap existing. The main causes are lack of good quality decently paid part time work. Over 40 per cent of women compared to 12 per cent of men work in part time jobs.

Also, part time workers are more likely to be in lower skilled and paid jobs in the private sector which are caring, clerical, cashiering, catering and cleaning jobs. These jobs are not as well paid as engineering and science. In most cases women take on the caring responsibilities and are more likely to reduce their hours to fit around childcare responsibilities

The lack of affordable childcare is also a factor.

TUC research found that in England the average wages of those with a one-year-old child rose by 12% in cash terms – although pay is still falling in real terms – between 2008 and 2016. However, over the same period, childcare costs shot up by 48%. This means women are more likely to give up work or take long periods out of work to care for their children.

The TUC are calling on government to get tough on gender pay gap reporting but believe that companies publishing information on their gender pay gaps is a small step in the right direction but it’s nowhere near enough. Women in the UK will only start to get paid properly when there are paid part-time and flexible jobs, and when higher wages are paid in key sectors like social care. The motherhood pay penalty must end by tackling pregnancy discrimination and giving dads better opportunities to share parental leave.

It has been 50 years since the Ford Dagenham strikes and today on International Women’s Day we are reporting on gender pay gap. Employers need to do more than publish their pay gaps. This action alone will not reduce the pay gap women face in the workplace.

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