The number of women set to work their entire careers without ever seeing equal pay has risen to over ten million – up from 8.5 million a year ago – new research by the Labour Party can reveal.
The analysis to mark Equal Pay Day shows progress on the gender pay gap has stalled significantly under Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, with the gap now not set to close until 2059 – seven years later than the projection made in 2020.
It means that an 18-year-old woman entering employment today will have to wait until she turns 56 before the gender pay gap closes.
Reacting to the figures, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds MP accused the Conservatives of “failing an entire generation of women”.
Labour has pledged urgent action to close the gender pay gap by:
Modernising equal pay legislation to allow for equal pay comparisons across employers where men and women are carrying out comparable work.
Enforcing the requirement to report and eliminate pay gaps, with employers required to devise and implement plans to eradicate these inequalities.
Ensuring outsourced workers are included in employers’ gender pay gap reporting and pay ratio reporting.
Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for firms with more than 250 staff, to mirror gender pay gap reporting rules.
The figures come as women continue to struggle with the hugely unequal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The gender pay gap increased by 13% between April 2020 and April 2021, when women were more likely to be furloughed, more likely to lose income to home-school, and more likely to work in sectors that are expected to see the slowest economic recovery from the crisis.
In the eight years of Labour Government between 2002 and 2010, the gender pay gap narrowed by just over 7%.
Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, said:
“It is unacceptable that over 10 million women now face working their entire careers without seeing equal pay – up from 8.5 million just one year ago.
“The Conservative Government should be taking action to close the gender pay gap. Instead it’s standing by while progress has gone into reverse, with the gap actually increasing by a whopping 13% during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Conservatives are failing an entire generation of women. Labour would take urgent action to close the gender pay gap by giving women the ability to compare their salaries with men doing the same job in a different firm, and forcing employers to bring forward plans to eradicate pay gaps.”