Women are taking home £564 a month less than men, report finds

Pay disparities are making it far harder for women to cope with the cost-of-living crisis, Fawcett Society research has found.

male and female figurines standing on coins

 

Working women will take home £564 a month less than working men this year on average, making it far harder for them to cope with the cost-of-living crisis, a new report has found.

If women earned the same as their male peers, they would most likely spend that additional money on things such as heating, electricity, food, and saving for their futures, the report also found. This year’s monthly disparity was a slight increase on the £536 figure in 2021.

The Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity, released its new report on Sunday to mark the UK’s Equal Pay Day – this is the day in the year when, based on average pay, women overall stop being paid compared to men. The report includes an analysis of pay data for both part-time and full-time workers, plus a survey of over 1900 women.

Several studies have shown that women around the world work fewer paid hours than men, often because they do more unpaid hours of childcare and housework. In the Fawcett report, over a third (35%) of women surveyed said they would like to work more paid hours but they were unable to do so. 

Within this group, women said that issues around flexible working were a huge obstacle. Amongst women who wanted to work more, 32% said their employer did not offer flexible working and 22% said the flexible jobs available were too low-paid. The UK’s high childcare costs were another obstacle – 22% of women who wanted to work more could not do so because childcare was too costly.

chart from fawcett report

Source: Fawcett Society Equal Pay Day report

 

Meanwhile, the UK’s cost-of-living crisis is putting households under huge strain, with inflation hitting 11.1% in October. Women are disproportionately affected by this crisis, several studies have shown, partly because they tend to earn less than men, and partly because they are more likely to manage daily household costs such as groceries and children’s items. 

As a result, women are considerably more likely to view the cost-of-living crisis as a ‘constant source of worry’ (78% of women vs 68% of men), according to research published by Legal & General this month.

There are also racial inequalities at play. According to the Fawcett Society’s survey, 80% of black and minority ethnic women said they had struggled to pay their household bills in the last six months, compared with 68% of white women.

The Fawcett Society is calling for the government to take several steps to tackle the pay gaps between men and women, as well as the inequalities between racial groups. These steps include making it mandatory for employers to report ethnicity pay gaps (and not just gender pay gaps), publish action plans to tackle pay gaps, and include flexible working options in job adverts. They are also calling for childcare reform.



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