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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
UK women 'losing out on pay'
Women receive less pay in relation to men than the European average
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By Sarah Toyne
BBC News Online personal finance reporter

The gender pay gap in the UK is one of the worst in Europe, according to a new survey.

According to figures collated by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, all women in the European Union and Norway on average are paid less than men, but some fare much worse than others.

On average the difference between the hourly wage of a female worker in the UK compared to a man doing a similar job is the fourth biggest in Europe.

Women's average pay as a % of men's
Luxembourg: 89%
Ireland: 84.5%
Sweden: 82%
Italy: 81.7%
Spain: 76.9%
UK: 75.9%
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Source: EIRO

On average, women in the UK earn 24.1% less an hour than men doing an equivalent job, which is below the EU average of 20.4%.

In Norway, the second most equal country, the pay gap is only 14%.

Wide discrepancy

Some of the pay difference can be explained with different patterns in society, with men and women choosing different careers, and women taking time out from work to have children.

While this may explain some of the pay gap, the fact that pay for men and woman differs sharply from country to country illustrates that there are some structural inequalities as well.

Luxembourg has the best record in matching men's and women's pay, with women earning 89% of men¿s earnings.

There are only three countries where the gender wage gap is worse than the UK. These are Germany, Portugal, and Austria.

Austria has the worst record, with a gender pay gap of 33%.

Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of the Fawcett Society, an organisation which campaigns for equal pay, said: "The pay gap affects all women at all levels."

Women's average pay as a % of men's (latest figures)

Luxembourg: 89%

Norway: 86%

Ireland: 84.5%

Denmark: 83.2%

Sweden: 82%

Finland: 82%

Italy: 81.7%

France: 80.5%

Netherlands: 80%

Belgium: 79.6%

Spain: 76.9%

Greece: 76.2%

UK: 75.9%

Germany: 75.7%

Portugal: 72.6%

Austria: 67%

Average: 79.6%

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See also:

06 Mar 02 | Business
Action urged on 'shocking' pay gaps
05 Dec 01 | Business
Bid to bridge gender pay gap
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