10 November 2016
Women’s average pay will be lower than men’s for over 60 years if the gender pay gap continues closing at its current rate, the Fawcett Society has warned.
Today is Equal Pay Day, marking the date after which women effectively work for free until the end of the calendar year considering that their wages fall 13.9% below their male colleagues’.
This year, Equal Pay Day has fallen one day later than in 2015, which means the pay gap is slowly closing, but its progress is being held back by low pay in female-centric sectors, a lack of career progression, and direct discrimination.
Women are less likely than men to receive a bonus or a promotion, 54,000 women a year are forced out of their jobs after having a baby or becoming pregnant, and when certain roles become associated with women, underpayment often follows.
For instance, 80% of care workers are women – a sector that has become infamous for the underpayment of its staff – and those who choose to care for loved ones are often left without sufficient support and find it difficult to re-enter the labour market.
One study found that even when women move into traditionally male-centric and higher paid industries – such as science, technology, engineering or manufacturing (where 90% of the workforce is male) – employers responded by cutting pay.
The Fawcett Society called for employers to be required to publish an action plan detailing how they plan to close the gender pay gap within their own organisations, enforced with a penalty for those who do not comply.