Over the past 25 years, large gender gaps in pay have remained.

Beth Timmins
BBC News, Business reporter

Published
Image source, Getty Images

A report found that more than three quarters of the decrease in gender wage gap in the last 25 years was due to women’s education attainment.

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), also concluded that raising the minimum wage helped to close the income gap for those with lower earnings.

Graduates, for whom there is no shift in the hourly wage gap, have not seen similar gains.

According to IFS, this means that there is “hardly any improvement” in the gender wage gap.

The government stated that the nation’s gender pay “has fallen significantly”, and that 1.9m more women are employed than before 2010.

Part of the (IFS] Deaton Review of Inequalities was this research that measured gender earnings gaps along three margins: employment, hours and wage rate.

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According to the authors, working women of work age do 50 more hours per month than their male counterparts and gender gap in hours and employment increases significantly as soon as they have children.

According to the researchers, the only reason there has been any improvement in the closing of gender wage gaps is because women have more education.

Higher education for women than that of men

In 2019, the average woman of working age in the UK made 40% less than her male counterpart, which is 25% more than the mid-90s. However, working-age women have higher education on average than their working-age counterparts.

Over the last 25 years, UK women working-age have been five percentage point less likely than their male counterparts to earn a degree in university.

According to Alison Andrew (a senior economist at IFS) and the author of this report, the gender pay gap in earnings falls looks “particularly modest” when you consider the increasing education of women.

‘Inadequate’ policies

According to the authors, years of policy reforms had failed to produce a coherent set of incentives that encourage equal responsibilities for men and women.

Current policies are “inadequate”, according to the researchers. They “implicitly embrace traditional gender norms”. This assumes that childcare is a responsibility of women, which has led to society being “trapped in bad equilibrium.”

Grace Lordan (founder of The Inclusion Initiative, London School of Economics) said that she wasn’t surprised at these results.

She said that women do not get the same education as men, and they are therefore rewarded and paid less. The government should insist on the progress of companies.

‘Almost no progress’

They are more educated now than their male counterparts. However, Monica Costa-Dias Monica (report author) said that there was “almost zero progress” in gender equality for paid work during the last quarter century.

She stated that “Huge gaps in gender remain over employment, work hours and wages.”

“It is unlikely that we can count on women getting more education to close existing gaps,”

It was found that the vast majority of non-paid work is done by women, which includes childcare and housework.

Researchers found that over the past 25 year, women have worked longer hours for less money than they did in paid jobs.

Andrew said that ambitious government policies would help to overcome the practical and financial barriers families have in sharing work. This could lead to transformative changes.

Swiss Mandatory Paternity

A law was passed in Switzerland last year that mandates new fathers taking paternity leave to promote gender equality.

According to Ms Andrew, countries that are more gender-inclusive overall have policies which promote equality like affordable childcare or parental leave. These policies cannot be transferred back to the women.

An average couple of two-earners in the UK will spend over 20% on their childcare. This is the second highest share of OECD countries and the largest among them.

Mark Franks from the Nuffield Foundation, who funded this review, stated that “the gender gap in total earnings in Britain is almost twice as high as in some countries.”

According to review authors, the fact that parental leave remains geared towards women as well as the extra costs associated with childcare subsidies for mothers who work longer hours only worsen the problem.

Dr Lordan stated, “The Swiss Model can change social norms. This shows that women and men are not allowed to swap maternity and paternity time.”

It was also discovered that the gendered roles of mothers and fathers appear to have little to do with earnings potential. Women who are earning more than their male partner tend to cut back on work hours in the years to come.

The findings show that a lower percentage of women working part-time contributes to lower wages and lower career opportunities.

This research found that single mothers were particularly at risk of poverty. It also highlighted the effect of gender gaps between paid and unpaid work.

‘Building back fairer’

According to the government, the gender pay in the country has fallen significantly during its time as president. This was attributed to the rights of flexible work, paid parental leave, and double the amount of childcare available for parents who are eligible.

According to the report, the gender gap has decreased by 25% over the past decade. In 2010, 1.9 million women worked more than 2010.

According to a spokesperson, “We will soon put forward a number of measures that advance equality for women in work and increase opportunities, as well as addressing the challenges that keep women behind.”

“We’re committed to making the world fairer again and making work environments more egal so all can realize their full potential.”

Source: BBC.com

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