Women have effectively been working for free this year because of the gender pay gap.
Today is Women’s Pay Day: the day when the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man, according to new figures. The research, published by the TUC to coincide with International Women’s Day, points out that in some industries, where the gender pay gap is even bigger, women have to effectively wait until April or even May before they are paid.
The research highlights the ongoing issue, as women across the world – including Spanish women who are holding Spain’s first nationwide “feminist strike” – #PressforProgress, including campaigning for fairer working conditions and equal pay.
The gender pay gap
The current gender pay gap for full-time and part-time employees stands at 18.4% but this varies depending on the industry. In education, for example, the gender pay gap is currently 26.5%. The TUC says this means the average woman works for free for more than a quarter of the year (97 days) and has to wait until the 7 April before she starts earning the same as the average man. In finance and insurance, however, the gender pay gap is the equivalent of 130 days, which means women effectively are only paid after 10 May.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady says: “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 we have better-paid part-time and flexible jobs. And higher wages in key sectors like social care.”
Working women facing financial hardship
A separate study, published today by The Fawcett Society and The Living Wage Foundation, found that millions of women face financial insecurity. It says that that of working women paid less than the real Living Wage (of £10.20 an hour in London, and £8.75 outside of London) A third (1.12 million women) have no savings at all, including pensions and nearly half have less than £100 saved, to cover a financial emergency.
Jemima Olchawski, head of policy and insight at the Fawcett Society, says: “Employers can help lift their staff out of poverty and close the gender pay gap by paying the real living wage. We’d urge larger employers to take the opportunity of pay gap reporting to look closely at the nature and causes of the gap in their organisation and make an action plan to close it.”
- Elsewhere, as larger companies publish their gender pay gap, the data is available company by company here.
- Also in the news, the retail chain Next is facing Equal Pay claims. More than 300 workers are reported to have registered to participate in a claim that was filed at the conciliation service Acas on Wednesday. The workers claim they are paid an average of £2 an hour less than mainly male warehouse workers, who they view as doing work of equal value.