Action needed to close gender pay gap, says campaign group

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Young women face a lifetime of unequal pay because of the ongoing gender pay gap, which leaves them losing out on thousands of pounds a year, according to a new study.

The difference in the earnings of men and women working full-time is more than £9,000 a year, said the Young Women’s Trust.

Its study found that men tended to be paid more, reached higher positions and were more likely to work in higher-paid industries.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: “We may have an equal vote but women are still fighting for equal pay. Young women are more likely to be on low pay and many are resorting to food banks or falling into debt.

“We need urgent action to close the pay gap. Real equality means supporting women into better-paid, male-dominated sectors like engineering and construction and tackling low pay in women-dominated sectors.

“Helping parents share childcare more equally and supporting women back into the workforce after taking time out through flexible working opportunities would help too.

A spokeswoman for the Fawcett Society said: “Women are consistently undervalued in and excluded from the paid economy.

“These numbers bring to life the very real impact that has on women’s income, leaving them more exposed to poverty and less able to save for their future.

“It’s not just women who are bearing the cost – given the skills shortage and productivity crisis, it’s in all our interests to ensure we genuinely use and reward women’s skills and potential in the workplace.”

A Government spokesman said:  “We are one of the first countries in the world to require all large employers to publish their gender pay gap and bonus data. This is not an option, it is the law.

“Employers have until April 4 to report, and this will help shine a light on where women are being held back and where employers can take action to support their whole workforce.

“We are proud to say that the full-time gender pay gap is the lowest it has ever been, but we want to take this further – we are committed to eliminating the gender pay gap entirely.”

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