10 November 2017
Today is Equal Pay Day, marking the point in the year when women start working for free compared with men, and campaigners have warned the situation is getting worse
The Fawcett Society warned that the gender pay gap is getting wider among younger women, and on other factors progress has stalled.
Equal Pay Day has not shifted any later in the year for three years, the pay gap has stood still at 14.1% since 2015, and if the pace of change does not pick up, parity will not be seen for another 100 years.
While women in their 50s experience the largest gap at 18.6%, the wages of women in their 20s are falling behind their male counterparts at a significant rate, from 1.1% in 2011 to 5.5% this year.
Overall, women are twice as likely to be on the lowest pay, with 221,000 women earning even less than the minimum wage. The situation is worse in the private sector than the public sector at 17.1% compared with 14%. However, the gap has closed slightly, by 4.3 percentage points in private businesses. Women working for the state have seen no change at all.
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.
“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know that younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”