BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"For women in full time work things have improved "
 real 56k

Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 07:04 GMT
Call to eliminate gender pay gap
nurse
Women workers still earn less than men
Three decades after equal pay legislation came into force in Britain, women still receive significantly less pay than men, the Equal Opportunities Commission has said.

Its report, Just Pay, concludes that the long-term results of the pay gap are poverty, social exclusion, inadequate pensions and limited access to training.

The commission wants the gap to be halved within five years and completely eradicated within eight.


This is not something that we can be proud of

Professor Joan Stringer
But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) condemned the commission's calls for employers to be forced to carry out pay reviews.

Since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, the gap between average hours earnings for men and women in full-time work had narrowed from 31% to 18%, the report found.

But according to the commission the proportion of men's full-time wages that women working part-time received had hardly altered.

The gap stood at 39%, the widest gulf in any EU country, the commission found.

While professional women had seen their incomes rise, many others were trapped in low-paid, part-time jobs, the study found.

Scotland's gaping gulf

Scotland had the largest gap between men and women's earnings.

Here the gender earnings gap was 19% - 1% higher than the UK figure and 6% higher than in Wales.

The commission's Scotland Commissioner, Professor Joan Stringer, condemned the figures as "disgraceful".

"Low wages trap women in poverty and prevent them form acquiring new skills and preparing for retirement," Professor Stringer said.

"The gap between men and women's pay in Scotland is wider than in Britain as a whole and the British pay gap is the worst in Europe.

"This is not something that we can be proud of," she said.

The commission accused employers of complacency and called for new laws to force them to carry out pay reviews.

But the CBI said that would be ineffective and would impose an unnecessary and excessive burden on companies.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Women short changed on pay
29 Dec 00 | Business
Employers urged to close pay gap
25 May 00 | Business
Action urged on pay gap
25 May 00 | UK
'Long delay for equal pay'
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories