A recent report from the equality charity the Fawcett Society claims that efforts to close down the gender pay gap have been “dismally slow”. The charity said that it would take 60 years to eradicate the gap at the current rate of progress in te United Kingdom.
The gender pay gap for full-time workers rose to 8.9% in the year to April 2019 compared to 8.6% the previous year, showed new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the UK. However the gap for full-time employees was close to zero for people under 40 years.
The percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women is known as the gender pay gap. .
There was a 9.5 per cent difference in what the average full-time female employee earned compared with the average man in 2012. In seven years, that gap has narrowed down only slightly to 8.9 per cent.
The ONS said that the pay gap for all workers dropped to 17.8 per cent in 2018 compared to 17.3 per cent in 2019. This trend is continuing, it said.
There are age related variations in the extent of the pay gap as older female workers are more likely to make less money compared to younger ones. The ONS further said that compared with younger women, those women who are over 40 are more likely to be employed in lower-paid occupations and are less likely to be appointed as managers, directors or senior officials.
“Progress to close the gender pay gap is dismally slow and at this rate it will take 60 years to eradicate it. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act women have waited long enough. The pay gap represents a productivity gap and a waste of women’s skills and potential. Too many women are trapped in low paid part-time work or locked out of non-traditional sectors while others experience pay or pregnancy discrimination,” said Sam Smethers, the Fawcett Society’s chief executive.
Calls for companies to mandatorily publish action plans for reducing gender pay gaps, inclusion of medium-sized businesses in reporting requirements and pay gap reporting by ethnicity was given by Smethers.
The need to address the underlying causes was necessary and “one of which is the unequal sharing of unpaid care work”, she also said. Making all jobs flexible unless there is a business case against and better-paid periods of paternity leave for fathers would be included in the improvements.
At the current rate, it would take “decades” to close the gender pay gap, said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
“Government must pick up the pace. It’s clear that publishing gender pay gaps isn’t enough on its own,” she said. “Companies must also be legally required to explain how they’ll close them.”
(Adapted from BBC.com)