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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Action urged on pay gap
spice girls performing at Brit Awards 2000
The high earning Spice Girls are exceptions to the rule
Unions are marking the 30th anniversary of equal pay legislation by urging the government and employers to speed up the pace of change.

After 30 years of legislation, women in the UK on average in full-time work still earn only 81% of men's hourly earnings.

In 1970, when the Equal Pay Act was introduced, women's full-time earnings were 65% of men's.



A woman with GCSE-level qualifications will suffer an earnings loss of 241,000 over her lifetime

Cabinet Office report
A new report warns that the remaining 20% pay gap between men and women might not be closed for another 30 years, despite decades of equal pay laws.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said companies should be made to carry out pay audits if they did not monitor their wage systems.

"After 30 years of equal pay legislation it is hard to believe that women are still so consistently undervalued in the workplace," said EOC chairwoman Julie Mellor.


In 1999
The average full-time weekly wage for women was 326.50 and for men was 442.40.

The average male graduate earned 14,619, while the average females earned 12,201

Women have been the main beneficiaries of the minimum wage, with 12% affected as opposed to 4% of men.
A recent report from the Women's Unit at the Cabinet Office found that on average a woman with GCSE-level qualifications is estimated to suffer an earnings loss of 241,000 over her lifetime in comparison with an equivalently qualified man.

Women with children continue to suffer from particular wage discrimination.

The TUC, which is holding a conference in London to celebrate the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, said the 20% pay gap widens to 40% for part-time workers.

The union organisation called for reform of equal pay and sex discrimination laws. "Women workers have put up with poor pay because of institutionalised discrimination and the fact that society has traditionally undervalued the kind of work they do," said general secretary John Monks.

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27 Oct 99 | The Economy
Gender pay gap fight launched
21 Feb 00 | Business
Women way behind on pay
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