You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Women working for free from today

Written by:
It’s Equal Pay Day – not the day when we all celebrate achieving equal pay between the sexes, but the day when women effectively stop earning relative to men.

In some parts of the country, the gap is so wide that a woman on an average wage stops being paid relative to their male counterparts in September, working for free for the rest of the year.

Campaign group, the Fawcett Society, said that progress in closing the pay gap has ‘stalled’, adding it would take 100 years to close the gap at the current pace of change. The average pay gap for full time workers sits at 14.1%.

Catherine Stewart, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said the gender pay gap highlighted by Equal Pay Day is only the start of the financial divides between men and women. She added: “This inequality carries through to later life, as women’s retirement prospects are generally worse than men’s. The persistent gender pay gap, maternity leave and career breaks can all hold back women’s earning potential and this often impacts pension savings.

“Closing the pay gap is a crucial first step, but we must also level the pensions playing field. As a starting point, we recommend the government adjust current restrictions on auto-enrolment (AE) in to a workplace pension scheme. Almost a third (32%) of women who work part-time earn less than the £10,000 qualifying earnings threshold and are missing out on valuable employer contributions.”

Investment gap

Holly Mackay, CEO of Boring Money, said: “Our research identifies a sinister ugly sister to the Gender Pay Gap, that is the Gender Investment Gap. The combination of these two highlights a huge problem for women when it comes to future wealth and retirement funding.

“Women are less likely to invest than men, sticking to cash because of mistrust, a greater fear of investment risk and the time pressures of day-to-day life. 12% of women hold a stocks and shares ISA compared to 19% of men. We are less likely to hold private pensions or to invest in shares. So not only are we earning less, but any savings are more likely to sit in cash which does guarantee one thing – over the long-term, our money isn’t working as hard for us as it could be. Over any 10-year period since the stock market began, stocks have done better than cash nine times out of 10. Currently women are missing out on these returns.”

Perpetuating a victim-hood narrative?

However, some groups have questioned the validity of the data supporting Equal Pay Day. The Institute of Economic Affairs said the existing data does not prove any gender pay gap between men and women in similar roles. It said the official gender pay gap, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, is 9.1% for full-time workers in favour of men, and -5.1% for part-time workers in favour of women.

Kate Andrews, news editor at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said forcing businesses to publish their pay gaps risked causing confusion about wage differentials and may make employers reluctant to hire female graduates into junior roles.

She added: “The Equal Pay Day campaign does nothing to advance women in the workforce; even worse, it seems to be covering up the major successes that women have had, particularly in Northern Ireland. Omitting the one region with a negative gender pay gap from its table tells us everything we need to know about the aims of this campaign – it is perpetuating a victim-hood narrative, deliberately leaving out information that should be cause for celebration.

“Evidence we have suggests young women entering the workforce have every reason to believe that they will receive equal pay for equal work.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Everything you wanted to know about ISAs…but were afraid to ask

The new tax year is less than a fortnight away and for ISA savers or investors, it’s hugely important. If yo...

Your right to a refund if travel is affected by train strikes

There have been a wave of train strikes in the past six months, and for anyone travelling today Friday 3 Febru...

Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week