The Resolution Foundation today published research into the gender pay gap which shows that it has fallen to just 5% for women in their 20s but that there is still a huge lifetime deficit for women. They said:
Looking at women’s early careers, the analysis finds that baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1965) experienced a pay gap of 16 per cent during their 20s. That gap fell to 9 per cent for women in generation X (born between 1966 and 1980) and then to 5 per cent for millennials (born between 1981 and 2000).
However, despite this progress in the early career phase, the gender pay gap continues to rise rapidly for women in their 30s and 40s. Among baby boomers the gender pay gap rose from 21 per cent at the age of 30 to 34 per cent by the age of 40, after which it started to fall. For generation X the pay gap increased from 10 per cent at age 30 to 25 per cent by the age of 40.
The gender pay gap for millennials rises steeply to 9 per cent when they hit 30, only very marginally lower than the gap for generation X-ers at the same age. This suggests that the old challenges associated with having children endure for young women today, says the Foundation.
Liberal Democrat Equalities spokesperson Lorely Burt said:
While there is welcome progress for younger women, the same old problem rears its head when babies come along and women’s talents and contributions in the workforce are reduced or lost altogether.
In Government, Liberal Democrats pushed through requirements for large businesses to publish their gender pay gap despite strong resistance from the Conservatives.
We need to build on this with a requirement for companies to publish their plans for childcare, flexible working and other ways of encouraging women to develop their careers and enjoy parenthood at the same time.
The Government says it wants to use all the talents in this country – let it put forward policies to make this possible through quality, affordable childcare for all.
Former Lib Dem Equalities minister Jo Swinson, who introduced the requirements for companies to report their gender pay gap, was on the Today programme this morning. You can listen to the discussion here at around 1 hour 50 minutes in.
She talked about how shocking it was that young women just going into the workplace still only earn 95p for every pound that a man earns when they have often been out-performing men at school and university. She says that there is no reasonable excuse for what can often be unconscious discrimination at this stage.
She then went on to talk about the legal, economic and cultural barriers that stop men playing their full role as fathers.
She pointed out that every year 54,000 women were forced out of their jobs because of maternity or pregnancy discrimination, so it’s not a matter of choice.
She added that part time employees should not earn less per hour than their full time colleagues.