The government is failing to take action to tackle the gender pay gap, claims a new report.
The report, conducted by the Women and Equalities Select Committee, found that the government is complicit to a system that undermines productivity and encourages the gender pay gap.
The findings, released on the day that marks women working for free for the rest of the year, discovered that despite the government’s commitment to eradicate the 19.2 per cent pay gap, it has remained around the same level for the last four years.
Women over the age of 40 are currently the most affected by the pay gap, with women aged 50 to 59 facing a 27 per cent difference in pay.
The part time pay penalty; women’s disproportionate responsibility for childcare; and the high number of women in ‘female’, low paid jobs such as retail and cleaning, were all attributed to the cause of the pay gap.
Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committees said, “The gender pay gap is holding back women and that isn’t going to change unless the Government changes its policies now.”
‘The pay gap represents a massive loss to the UK’s economy and we must address it in the face of an ageing workforce, a skills crisis and the need for a more competitive economy.”
“If the Government is serious about long-term, sustainable growth it must invest in tackling the root causes of the gender pay gap.”
“Adopting our recommendations would be a significant step towards achieving the goal of eliminating the gender pay gap within a generation.”
The committee’s report suggests that encouraging and supporting both men and women to share childcare is one of the most effective ways of closing the gender pay gap.
They also recommend that more can be done to support women returning to work; and encouraging employers to improve the pay and progression across low paid sectors.
However, despite the continuing pay gap, the report also noted that attitudes to work and caring are changing. Employers are beginning to recognise the need for flexible working and benefits.