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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 06:59 GMT
Women losing out in pay league
Female office worker
Woman still hold fewer senior positions
Women in Wales are still lagging behind men in the pay league, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Figures released on Wednesday revealed there was an average 12% pay gap between men and women in Wales.

Women working part-time were even worse off, earning 31% less than men.

The statistics are disappointing to campaigners, still working to redress the balance 30 years after the creation of the EOC, the Sex Discrimination Act, and the Equal Pay Act.

WOMEN WORKING IN WALES
75% work in cleaning, catering, caring, clerical work and customer services
Women's retirement income is only 57% of men's
38% of calls to the EOC Wales helpline concern pregnancy and maternity
Women continue to be under-represented at senior levels, e.g. 78% of NHS staff are women but only 20% of hospital consultants
Just 8 out of 40 Welsh MPs are women; only four out of the 22 councils have female leaders

"Women have still not got equal pay with men," said Kate Bennett, director of the EOC in Wales.

"They still experience widespread discrimination and pay a high penalty for having children and other care responsibilities in terms of their career, pay and pensions."

Ms Bennett said the EOC was looking forward to the introduction of new rules to make public sector employers positively promote equality rather than merely take steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

The Gender Equality Duty - which comes into force in 2007 - is being heralded as the most significant change to gender equality legislation in 30 years.

It will require public bodies to eliminate sex discrimination and promote equality throughout their services, policies, employment and recruitment practices.

"Equality for all remains our goal, and we are determined to work with as broad a range of people as we can to ensure better opportunities for our children in the future," she added.

Neil Wooding, EOC Commissioner for Wales said simpler and stronger legislation was needed to help more women.

"We need to build on the passion, courage and determination shown by women and men in Wales in challenging adversity and pursuing fairness and justice," he said.

"We are positive that together we can make good progress in the year ahead."




SEE ALSO:
Calls for new sex equality laws
29 Dec 05 |  UK Politics
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23 Jun 05 |  UK Politics


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