Pay gap has ground to a halt warns new equality report

The pay gap between men and women has reached stalemate and shows no sign of closing, claims a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

The pay gap between men and women has reached stalemate and shows no sign of closing, claims a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 
The Commission’s report, How fair is Britain?, warns long-standing inequalities ”remain undiminished”, although some areas including diversity have seen progress.
In its far-reaching report into equality, gender, health and tolerance, researchers found the gender pay gap for women and men working full-time in 2009 was 16.4%, and progress today ”appears to be grinding to a halt”.
The gender pay gap was lowest for the under 30s, but it increased more than five times by the time workers reached the age of 40 – statistics show women aged 40 earn on average 27% less than men of the same age.
But women with degrees are estimated to face only a 4% loss in lifetime earnings as a result of motherhood, while mothers with no qualifications face a 58% loss.
Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: ”This review holds up the mirror to fairness in Britain.  It is the most complete picture of its kind ever compiled.  It shows that we are a people who have moved light years in our attitudes to all kinds of human difference, and in our desire to be a truly fair society – but that we are still a country where our achievements haven’t yet caught up with our aspirations.
”Sixty years on from the Beveridge report and the creation of the welfare state, his five giants of squalor, disease, ignorance, want and idleness have been cut down to size, though they still stalk the land.
”But in the 21st century, we face a fresh challenge – the danger of a society divided by the barriers of inequality and injustice.  For some, the gateways to opportunity appear permanently closed, no matter how hard they try, whilst others seem to have been issued with an ‘access all areas’ pass at birth.  Recession, demographic change and new technology all threaten to deepen the fault lines between insiders and outsiders.”
The study also found:
* Girls achieve better school results than boys at age five in England, and at age 16 in England, Scotland and Wales, and in every ethnic group.
* In 2009, female university students outnumbered men by a ratio of 4:3.  Women are also more likely than men to get first-class or upper second-class degrees.
* But girls and women tend to be concentrated in some courses which tend to lead to relatively poorly-rewarded jobs.
* One in eight people in England provide unpaid care to adults.
* One in four women and nearly one in five men in their fifties are carers.
* Women represent less than a quarter of Westminster MPs and barely three in 10 councillors in England.
* 4% of Westminster MPs are from an ethnic minority background.
* One in four Bangladeshi and Pakistani women work, compared with nearly three in four white British women.

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