Happy Mother’s Day?

With International Women’s day this week and today being Mother’s Day, while we all celebrate women, we need to ask: is the government doing enough to address the Gender Pay Gap and are there effective policies that women need in the workplace right now?

Is it any wonder the UK productivity rate has flatlined if we create barriers for women in employment to reach their potential?

I am concerned about the impact on mental health for women, after having children, when faced with barriers to employment, including low pay, lack of opportunities to progress, or not being able to return to the same employment level they were at prior to having children.

In my first year at Somerset Council I produced a Gender Pay Gap paper and presented this to the equalities board and Council leadership.  I continue to shine a light on this issue at the Council and beyond.

If I am the next MP for the new Bridgwater constituency I will continue to campaign for equality and opportunities that deliver for women in employment.

Motherhood and the gender pay gap
[ Extract from government briefing: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN07068/SN07068.pdf ]

Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) finds that most of the gender pay gaps can be traced to ‘child penalties’, or parenthood. It finds the average earnings of men are almost completely unaffected by parenthood, but women’s earnings fall sharply when they become parents and then stabilise at a much lower level with little growth.

The IFS finds that seven years after the birth of a first child, women’s earnings are on average less than half of men’s.

There is little difference in median hourly pay for male and female full-time employees aged in their 20s and 30s, but a substantial gap emerges among full-time employees aged 40 and over. This links to parenthood.

The gender pay gap

The gender pay gap measures the difference between average (median) hourly earnings of men and women, usually shown by the percentage men earn more than women.

Why is there a gender pay gap?

The size of the gender pay gap depends on several factors, including age (see above), including:

• Occupation:
The gap tends to be smaller for occupation groups where a larger proportion of employees are women;

• Industry: The pay gap is largest in the financial and insurance industry, and smallest in the accommodation and food services industry.

• Pay: The highest earners have a larger pay gap than the lowest earners.

• Public and private sector: For full-time workers, the pay gap is slightly smaller in the public sector than the private sector. There is a negligible gender pay gap for part-time workers in the private sector, which contrasts with a large part-time pay gap in the public sector;

 • Region and nation: The full-time gender pay gap is highest in the South East and London and negative in Northern Ireland.

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