SMACK’S ROUNDTABLE:
THE GENDER PAY GAP

06/12/2016  |  BY EMMA HATT

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Despite the Equal Pay Act 45 years ago, women still earn less than men in Britain today. The difference in pay between men and women remains the clearest and most dramatic example of inequality for women.

Latest figures suggest that women in the UK still earn on average 20% less than men, this begins to rise once entering in senior management.

Last night I organised a SMACK event in the form of a round table discussion. Those in attendance included SMACK's directors and Head of Marketing as well as women from an array of different industries who all provided valuable insights into the topic. With some staggering statistics out there, I was intrigued to find out how the gender pay gap had effected these 9 other women.

Why are so many women being punished because of their choice to raise a family? Why is it so common?

Despite the Equal Pay Act 45 years ago, women still earn less than men in Britain today. The difference in pay between men and women remains the clearest and most dramatic example of inequality for women.

There are four main causes of the gender pay gap:

DISCRIMINATION
It’s illegal, but some women are still paid less than men for the same work – this can happen when a man and a woman are doing exactly the same role and receiving different pay, or where work of equivalent value carried out by women is underpaid.

Recent research shows that unfair treatment of women remains common, especially around maternity. 54,000 women are forced to leave their job early every year as a result of poor treatment after they have a baby.

UNEQUAL CARING RESPONSIBILITIES
Women continue to play a greater role in caring for children, as well as for sick or elderly relatives. As a result more women work part time, and these jobs are typically lower paid with fewer progression opportunities.

The pay gap opens up significantly once women hit their forties. Often as they return from a break to raise children, women find that their male contemporaries are being promoted ahead of them.

A DIVIDED LABOUR MARKET
Women are still more likely to be in low paid and low skilled jobs, affecting labour market segregation. 80% of those working in the low paid care and leisure sector are women, while only 10% of those in the better paid skilled trades are women.

Feminised sectors tend to be less valued and less well paid – women make up 60% of those earning less than the living wage.

MEN IN THE MOST SENIOR ROLES
Men continue to make up the majority of those in the highest paid and most senior roles – for example, there are just five female Chief Executives in the FTSE 100.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
- Fawcett’s written evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee on Women in Executive Management
Parents, work and care: Striking the balance report 2016
Fawcett’s 2016 Equal Pay Day Policy Briefing
Fawcett’s written evidence submitted to the Women and Equalities Committee Gender Pay Gap inquiry
Equal Pay: Where Next? A Fawcett report from the 2010 Equal Pay conference, marking the 40th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.
Office for National Statistics’ Publications on Pay and Gender
The European Commission’s overview of the gender pay gap in the European Union
The OECD’S report on gender equality in schools, and how that affects skils
The Women’s Financial Assets and Debts report

Thanks and Credit to The Fawcett Society