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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Gender pay gap wider than thought
A man and woman in suits
Inequality in the pay of men and women is getting worse
The gap between men and women's pay in the UK is wider than official figures show, according to a new report.

Research by PayFinder.com, which compares salaries, showed the average pay gap at 24%, contradicting an Office for National Statistics figure of 19%.

The widest differences in pay between genders was found in the South East and Scotland, the report said.

The gap was 30% in the South East, 29% in Scotland and 26% in eastern and north-east England.

The website said it was "incredible" that the gender pay gap still existed in modern times.

The pay divide in Wales has widened by 14% in the past year to 23%.

Overall, the pay gap across the UK has stretched by 5% over the last 12 months.

Battle of the sexes

Back in 2002, the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) New Earnings Survey found that female part-time workers took home 59 pence for every 1 earned by full time workers.

However, it has not been all bad news on the pay gap front.

It is almost impossible to compare like with like
John B, UK

A survey from the GMB union earlier this year found the gap had swung the other way in Castlereagh, Armagh and Cookstown in Northern Ireland.

Women's pay was 38 a week higher than men's, highlighting the plight of many low paid male workers in those regions.

Legislation has been in place for years to try and smooth over the problem.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 gave an individual the right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same employment.

But the reality seems to be that gender pay gaps are wider than ever.

"We've always noticed that men fare better in the wage stakes than women, regardless of age, region and sector," said a spokesman for PayFinder.

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