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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Women short changed over pay
Woman in office
Women are losing out in the pay stakes
The pay gap between men and women in Scotland is the largest in Europe, according to new figures.

Statistics from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) suggest that Scottish women earn 16.6% less per hour than men and 23.7% less per week.

The Scottish Executive said the figures are "not acceptable" and "bad for the Scottish economy".

An equal pay kit, which has been developed by the EOC, will now be made available to employers in a bid to close the earnings gap between men and women.


Women have a right to equal pay and it is not acceptable that the pay gap between men and women in Scotland is 17%

Margaret Curran
Social Justice Minister

The initiative is part of the "Close the Gap" strategy being supported by Scottish ministers, public sector bodies and trade unions.

It aims to enable employers to carry out pay audits and take action where disparities are identified.

The strategy also aims to engage unions in making equal pay a priority with a view to "empowering" women to challenge pay discrimination.

'Pay systems'

These issues and the latest statistics on pay disparity will be discussed at a conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Organisers hope the equal pay kit, which is being launched at the event, will encourage employers to take positive action.

Rowena Arshad OBE, Equal Opportunities Commissioner for Scotland, said: "After 32 years of equal pay legislation it is shameful that Scotland still has such a large gap between men and women's pay.

"This kit offers a step by step guide to putting the situation right.

"We know that the vast majority of employers don't discriminate deliberately against women but pay systems are complex and it is easy for discrimination to creep in.

"The EOC's equal pay kit will enable employers to carry out a pay review and this is the only way to make sure pay systems are fair."

Scotland's Social Justice Minister Margaret Curran said women are a valuable resource who must be treated fairly.

Scottish economy

"Women have a right to equal pay and it is not acceptable that the pay gap between men and women in Scotland is 17%," she said.

"We are working closely with the EOC, the Scottish Trades Unions Congress, the business community and enterprise networks through the Close the Gap initiative to tackle the gender pay gap.

"There are many factors affecting equality in pay such as job segregation, access to training and workplace opportunities, pay systems, caring responsibilities and discriminatory attitudes.

"But women are a valuable resource and undervaluing them is bad for the Scottish economy".

See also:

08 Mar 02 | Business
06 Mar 02 | Business
27 Feb 01 | Scotland
07 Jan 02 | Business
27 Dec 01 | UK
13 Aug 01 | Business
12 Jul 01 | UK
27 Mar 01 | Business
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