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Women still earn £5,000 a year less than men

7 November 2013

Women working full-time still earn almost £5,000 a year less than men, though the pay gap in some jobs is three times bigger, according to a TUC analysis of official figures published to mark Equal Pay Day on Thursday 7 November.

Equal Pay Day marks the point at which women working full-time effectively stop earning as they are paid 15 per cent less per hour than men working full-time. But in certain professions the gender pay gap is much wider and women working in culture, media and sport experience the second biggest pay gap at 27.5 per cent – around £10,000 a year.

The gender pay gap across the private sector is 19.9 per cent, far higher than the 13.6 per cent pay gap in the public sector.

For women working part-time the gulf is even wider - a staggering 35 per cent less per hour than men working full-time.

The scale of the problem underlines the important role trade unions play in tackling endemic inequality in our workplaces. Last year, with support from the NUJ a member working for the Press Association got £8,000 in back-dated pay increases after lodging an equal pay grievance. Many other cases are on-going.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“That companies continue to get away with old fashioned sexism and old fashioned pay discrimination in the workplace is an outrage.  It's time they woke up to the fact that treating staff fairly is actually good for business. The NUJ would encourage all members who believe they're being paid less than their male counterparts to come to the union for advice and we'll help them ensure they're getting paid the rate for the job.”

Lena Calvert, NUJ equality officer, said:

“Unfortunately there does not appear to be the political will by the political parties to tackle the issue of equal pay and with the attacks on the Equality Act by the coalition government, I don't think we are going to see this issue go away.
“One of the main problems is the lack of transparency in pay systems that allows companies to carry on awarding male employees more than their female colleagues. The voluntary system encouraging companies to publish information about pay gaps has failed, only one in a hundred companies has voluntarily agreed to publish equal pay data.
“What we need is compulsory pay audits attached to annual company reports. Once we see the extent of the problem, companies would have to take action to close the gap.”

The Gender Pay Gap in Journalism report in 2012, an international research project, showed that women journalists around the world continue to face persistent discrimination in wages and benefits. According to the report, women journalists were paid 17 per cent less than male colleagues across Europe, 9 per cent less in former Soviet Union countries and 4 per cent less in South America. In addition, women journalists receive less employment benefits such as health insurance, pensions and holidays, aggravating the inequality in wage levels. The report also points out that the pay gap increases with age.

The NUJ believes that the lack of progress on equal pay, despite legislation first introduced in Britain in 1970, shows the need for a renewed commitment to address resilient inequality.

More information on the NUJ website:

Equal Pay complaint leads to success for NUJ member

10 quick facts about equal pay

Equal pay toolkit - a rep's guide

Changing Times? The battle for equal pay continues

Tags: , equal pay, discrimination, women, equality