From the TUC

Today is women’s no pay day

30 Oct 2008, by in Equality

Women working full-time in the UK get paid 17% less than men. As this is equivalent to women working the last two months of the year for free, the Fawcett Society have calcuated that today marks women’s no pay day – from today until the end of the year many women are effectively working for free, their labour valued at far less than that of a comparable male employee. You can ask Peter Mandelson to challenge this injustice here.

Further facts that Fawcett highlight include:

  • Women working part-time earn on average 36% less per hour than men working full-time.
  • Ethnic minority women working full-time earn on average 20% less per hour than men working full-time.
  • In health and social work the pay gap between women and men is 33%.
  • Women working part-time in London earn on average 45% less per hour than men working full-time.

Pay gaps are complicated, the result of factors including discrimination, the low value given to jobs that are seen to be ‘women’s work’, the UK’s long hours culture and limited flexible working opportunities. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions. However, the current Equality Bill has stopped short of recommending mandatory pay audits. Despite the failure of a voluntarist approach over the last 1975 the CBI and Government are in agreement that equality is best promoted by gentle measures:

The government’s plans rightly concentrate on non-legal means of moving forward on equality, and the CBI welcomes this.” John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general

Fawcett and the TUC believe that mandatory equal pay audits are necessary accross all organisations, to ensure that inequalities are identified and challenged. But at the moment this isn’t looking likely. Lets see where we are in another 30 years – probably still over 100 years away from pay equality.