Why equal pay matters

There is a 14.9% gap between men’s and women’s combined hourly rates, and a shocking 32.2% gap when you compare women’s part time hourly rate to men’s full-time hourly rate.

These headline figures represent a lifetime of pay inequality for women.

This inequality is a contributing fact to women and children’s higher levels of poverty and women’s pensioner poverty. It also impacts on household earnings and on men’s earnings when they work in sectors or occupations with high levels of female workers.

The gender pay gap is caused by three main factors:

  1. Women have more responsibilities than men to care for children, sick people, and older people. A lack of flexible working opportunities makes it difficult for women to combine these responsibilities with work.
  2. Women are more likely to be found in predominantly female occupations that are associated with low pay. These include cleaning, catering, clerical, caring and retail working.
  3. Discrimination in pay systems means that many women are paid less for work that is the same or similar, or of the same value as male colleagues’ work.

Unequal pay does not only refer to women earning different amounts for doing exactly the same job as men. The law also require employers to pay women the same as men for doing work rated as equivalent by a job evaluation scheme, and work of equal value.

Related publications

Statutory Code of Practice on Equal Pay (Equality and Human Rights Commission)Statutory Code of Practice on Equal Pay (Equality and Human Rights Commission) Laid before Parliament 27 July 2010.

Toolkit for Student OfficersToolkit for Student Officers This toolkit is designed for student activists running equal pay campaigns on campus, and was developed in partnership with NUS Scotland.

WiRES: How we succeeded togetherWiRES: How we succeeded together A report for members of Women in Renewable Energy Scotland network, about Close the Gap's project to develop the network, and delvier a mentoring programme.

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