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Research: Women work for free for a fifth of the year

The average woman has to wait nearly a fifth of a year (66 days) before she starts to get paid compared to the average man.

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The current gender pay gap for all full-time and part-time male and female employees stands at 18%. This pay gap means that across the board women effectively work for free for the first 66 days of the year, until Women’s Pay Day on Tuesday (7 March).


In a number of key industries – even in jobs dominated by female workers – women have to wait until even later in the year for their Women’s Pay Day:


• In education, the gender pay gap is currently 27%, so the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (97 days) and has to wait until the 7 April before she starts earning the same as the average man.

• In health and social work, the average woman waits 69 days for her Women’s Pay Day on 10 March.

• The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. There the gender pay gap is the equivalent of 137 days – more than a third of the year – before Women’s Pay Day kicks in on 17 May.


TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said:


“The UK has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Even in industries where women dominate, like education, they get paid far less than men.


“Paying lip service to the problem is not good enough. Companies that don’t pay women the same as men for work of equal value are breaking the law. But with Employment Tribunal fees of £1,200, too few women can afford to access justice when bad bosses break the law.


“We also need to remove the barriers that stop women going into better paid, male-dominated professions. And we must improve pay for vital, but undervalued, jobs that are predominantly done by women, like social care.


“Employers must do more to help mums and dads to share out caring responsibilities more equally.”

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