Frances O’Grady is a UKCES Commissioner and has been an active trade unionist and campaigner all her working life, working for the Transport and General Workers Union before joining the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in 1994 and going on to become its first female General Secretary in 2013. Frances helped to launch the TUC’s Organising Academy, which set out to attract a generation of new ‘young guns’ into the trade union movement and shift the ‘male, pale and stale’ stereotype to a profile that better fits a six million plus membership that is now 50:50 men and women. Frances has two adult children and lives in North London.
Men working full-time are twice as likely to earn over £50,000 a year as full-time women, according to new TUC analysis of official figures published to mark Equal Pay Day on Tuesday 4th November. Equal Pay Day marks the point at which women working full-time effectively stop earning as they are paid £5,200 (15.7 %) less per year, on average, than men working full-time. But in certain professions the gender pay gap is much wider.
The Equal Pay Act: 40 years on and women are still losing out
It is small wonder that Britain is plummeting down the international league tables when it comes to gender equality. Four decades on from the Equal Pay Act, women are still losing out on pay and career opportunities.
The glass ceiling getting stronger – a tougher approach is needed
It feels like the glass ceiling is getting stronger, not weaker and we need a much tougher approach to stop future generations of women from suffering this pay penalty. Companies must be held more accountable for how they pay their staff and made to publish information. The government must also tackle the problem of poverty pay which is another reason for the gender pay gap. Ministers need to take a serious look at why so many jobs in Britain pay so little when employers can easily afford to pay staff more.
The TUC wants employers to be made to carry out regular gender pay audits, publish information on pay gaps and take action to close them.
Key facts from the analysis:
- Just one in fifteen women working full-time earns over £50,000 a year, compared to one in seven men. Even in sectors where women are well-represented, such as education and law, they still earn far less than men.
- Equal Pay Day marks the point at which women working full-time effectively stop earning as they are paid £5,200 (15.7%) less per year, on average, than men working full-time.
- The UK’s gender pay gap is even bigger for women working part-time, who earn 34% less per hour, on average, than men working full-time. Equal Pay Day for women working part-time was way back on 28th August.
- With women accounting for almost three-quarters of Britain’s six-million strong part-time workforce, the lack of decently paid, part-time jobs affects women’s pay and their career prospects far more than it does men.
- The TUC analysis also shows how full-time women are more likely to earn below the UK average salary of £32,300. Seven in ten women earn below this amount, compared to six in ten men.
- In addition, women are more likely to be employed on poverty pay. One in four women working full-time earns less than the living wage, compared to one in six men.