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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 22:24 GMT
Underpaid at the family business
Female office worker
The woman's father paid her 100 a week less than her brother
A report by the Women and Work Commission has found women in full-time work are earning 17% less than men.

One woman, who does not wish to be named, describes her first-hand experience of Britain's gender-based pay gap, working at her family's firm:

I went to work for my father when my son was very small.

I was hugely relieved at the time. It is obviously quite difficult to get work when you are a single parent.

My father asked me to come and work for his haulage firm. I had been working for the council and he bought me out of my maternity leave.

I was earning just about what I had been earning at the council but there was a great deal more work involved. I was dealing with quotes, booking the haulage, and doing book-keeping. We had ledgers, so it was double-entry book-keeping.

My father hadn't moved on from the 1950s. He assumed I would get a husband and it wouldn't be a problem

Then my brother came to work. He is 12 years younger than me. I realised then my pay had never been discussed properly.

I did the wages, and I realised my father was paying him 100 a week more than me and he was getting a car. We were doing the same amount of hours and I had more experience. We were essentially doing the same job.

I was horribly, horribly put out. I did get quite resentful. I eventually left. They had to pay the woman who replaced me 5,000 more than me and it wasn't even as much work.

I felt horribly undermined, because essentially it was because I was female. My father hadn't moved on from the 1950s. He assumed I would get a husband and it wouldn't be a problem.

Victim status

After my father died and my brother took over the company, I started doing a certain amount of part-time work but then it turned out I couldn't do it anymore because of my other job.

My brother realised I did know what I was talking about and that he did need me. He hired me back for twice what I had been earning the first time.

You can afford yourself victim status and say "I'm so hard done by," but I allowed myself to be hard done by.

It was obviously difficult for me because it was family and I loved them.

It doesn't surprise me all women are still being underpaid. I wish women would stand up more. They see themselves to be much more ready to stand up for themselves but I don't know if it's actually improved.

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