A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that women’s hourly wages are, on average, currently around 20% lower than men, despite previous government manifesto commitments aimed at ‘tackling the gender pay gap’. The IFS found that an important factor in the persistence of this gap is that mothers generally spend less time in paid work, and more time working part-time, resulting in hindered pay progression. Barrister Jane Russell of Essex Court Chambers said that the workplace, which is ‘still centred around a male pattern of working’ has made no effort to accommodate different patterns, which would be more inclusive of mothers. Lawyers from Mishcon de Reya LLP and Lewis Silkin LLP argue that a change in attitudes regarding part-time work is needed.
The pay gap has not been falling among graduates
Despite the fall in the pay gap for those educated to a low and mid-level, the IFS find that the wage gap has not fallen at all in the last 25 years for the highest-educated women, with female graduates still earning 22% less per hour than male graduates. In fact, women earn less than men despite being better educated on average.
Legal director at Mishcon de Reya LLP Asa Waring notes that this will likely ‘have a significant negative effect for gender diversity at the senior end, with the lack of senior women often cited as one reason for continuing inequality in the workplace’.
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