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Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 19:23 GMT
Women still face pay disparity
Mother with children
Women are being penalised for having families
Women in Wales are still being paid less than men three decades after legislation to ensure equality was introduced, according to a study on the divide in wages.

The report by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) revealed that on average, women workers are taking home 13% less than men per hour in full-time employment.

The gap widens to 22% for weekly earnings and the report has called for urgent action to address the root causes, claiming women are being undervalued.

Woman working in office
Equal pay legislation was passed 30 years ago
It is 30 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force, but the study showed wide gaps continue to exist between the sexes.

In Newport and Flintshire, the difference in pay packets can be as much as 26%.

The sharpest divides were found between women in part-time work and men in full-time employment.

The investigation found that the differences in hourly pay in such cases was up to 36%.

Employment figures show that nearly half (47%) of women are in part-time jobs, which makes it all the more important to tackle the problem, the commission believes.

Penalised in workplace

The investigation by the EOC was conducted with the University of Wales, Swansea.

The report's author, Professor David Blackaby, said nearly half of all the cases looked at could be attributed to discrimination.

"It's a fact that has remained stubbornly persistent," he said.

Women were being penalised in the workplace both with unequal job descriptions and for having families, the report concluded.

In May, the TUC marked the 30th anniversary of equal pay legislation by urging the government and employers to speed up the pace of change.

Kate Bennett, Equal Opportunities Commission
"We want trade unions to make this a key issue"
See also:

13 Aug 01 | Business
Women still paid less than men
27 Mar 01 | Business
Equal pay 'champions' for women
08 Jul 00 | UK
30-year wait for equal pay
04 Apr 00 | Education
Universities 'break equal pay laws'
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