We all know that a pay gap has long existed between men and women – but for the first time on record, the pay gap now looks likely to widen, rather than shrink.
Women still on average earn 14.9% less than men – even when they do the same job! And if that wasn’t bad enough, the pay and job prospects of women are actually going “in reverse”, a new report from the Fawcett Society has warned.
The warning comes on ‘Equal Pay Day’ – today marks the point in the year when women effectively start working for nothing compared to men.
Why is there still a pay gap?
There are a number of factors as to why there is still a pay gap between men and women.
The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender pay equality, believes that the main issues that need to be tackled are:
- The undervaluing of ‘women’s work’
- The lack of flexible work opportunities (which means that mothers, who still tend to do the bulk of unpaid caring for children, often suffer a ‘motherhood penalty’ in the workplace)
- Sheer discrimination
What’s making it worse?
In addition to the points mentioned above, the Fawcett Society believes that women will be hit by plans for regional pay in the public sector.
It’s also concerned that the government’s cuts to the public sector will push more women into the private sector, where the pay gap (20.4%) is wider.
The chief executive of the Fawcett Society, Ceri Goddard, said: “Women’s unemployment stands at a 24-year high and growing numbers of women have been forced into low paid, part-time and insecure employment – underemployment.
“In recent years, progress on closing the gap has slowed, but as the age of austerity bites, we now face the very real prospect of the gap actually widening for the first time since records began.”
I don’t think I’m getting equal pay. What can I do?
If you think you are being discriminated against at work, find out what steps you can take to claim equal pay here.