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Today is Equal Pay Day – but it’s not a cause for celebration

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Written by: Emma Lunn
14/11/2019
Equal Pay Day marks the point in the year when women effectively stop being paid relative to men.

Thursday 14 November is Equal Pay Day 2019. The gender pay gap means women still earn almost a fifth (17.3 per cent) less than men.

This means that from today, up until the end of the year, women are effectively working for free when compared like-for-like to men’s salaries.

The gender pay gap persists despite the Equal Pay Act of 1970 making it illegal to pay men and women differently for the same work.

Despite great inroads made in terms of gender equality, women are still the primary caregivers and are more than likely to be the ones leaving work to look after an ill or elderly relative or to raise a family.

This often means that at the time when men are getting promoted and enjoying pay rises, women find their careers ground to a stuttering halt.

Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International, said: “As the unfairness of the gender pay gap continues to dominate headlines with events like Equal Pay Day, we also need to turn our attention to the long-term knock-on effect this has women’s pension savings and long-term finances.

“According to the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) the impact of the gender pay gap over the course of the working life will cut women’s pension wealth by approximately 28 per cent – leading to a pensions gap of around £67,000 for women in their late 50s.

“And it’s not just women’s private pension savings that are impacted, women also end up with smaller state pensions with The Cridland report finding that in the first year of retirement women are expected to be left with a retirement income 25 per cent less than their male counterparts.”

Research from Fidelity’s Women and Money report found that if women top up their pension by just £35 a month, equivalent to 1 per cent of their salary, then they would close the gender pension gap by the time they reach retirement.

Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub, said: “It’s astonishing that in 2019 equal pay is still an issue that we need to discuss. However, the reality is that women are still paid less than men in many job roles and this can have knock on effects across their life. If you earn less, than it follows that you will also save less for the future.”

Earlier this week, a study by SpareRoom found millennial women spend a higher proportion of their salary on rent than men.

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