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The BBC's Stephen Evans
"There's still discrimination in the workplace"
 real 28k

Monday, 21 February, 2000, 03:16 GMT
Women way behind on pay

Mother with two children
Having a family instead of a career can be costly

Women who choose career over family could still earn almost 200,000 less during their working lives than male colleagues in the same job, according to government research.

The study was commissioned to find out what effect motherhood had on female earnings.

But it discovered that many women were being paid less than men simply because of their sex.

Baroness Jay, Women's Minister Baroness Jay: Commissioned the research
The Equal Pay Act of 1970 was introduced to prevent exactly this inequality.

The research is likely to put pressure on the government to ensure the legislation is enforced.

The study was commissioned by Women's Minister Baroness Jay and carried out by the London School of Economics.

It found that women who took career breaks to have children could lose out on hundreds of thousands of pounds during the course of their working lives.

Career women's lifetime wage losses for being female
No qualifications: 197,000
GCSE-level qualifications: 241,000
Graduate qualifications: 143,000
But even women who chose to put their career before having a family were earning much less than men.

This backs up figures from the Equal Opportunities Commission, which says that women get paid only 80% of the average hourly male earnings.

It says the UK's record on equal pay is poor - it came 10th out of 15 European countries surveyed.

Previous research has found that women are less aggressive about demanding and negotiating pay rises.

Juliet Mitchell, a gender studies expert at Cambridge University said motherhood plays an important factor.

Life wage gap between mother and father of two
Low skills: 482,000
GCSE skills:381,000
Graduate skills: 162,000
"Women are taken out of the workforce at the exact period of time when people earn the most," she said.

"They bear and look after children in the middle years from the last half of the 20s to the late 30s which is traditionally a high earnings period."

Last year, the EOC launched a campaign encouraging women to find out what male colleagues earned and to fight for equal pay.

It also wants companies to carry out payroll audits to ensure female employees are not being discriminated against.

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See also:
21 Feb 00 |  UK
Women's workplace wars
27 Oct 99 |  The Economy
Gender pay gap fight launched
06 Dec 99 |  Business
UK working mothers earn less
09 Jun 99 |  The Economy
Women's pay lags behind

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