This year we celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People Act gave the first UK women equal voting power – but they still do not have equal spending power.
On average, men working full-time earn £39,003 a year, compared to women’s average full-time wage of £29,891. This is because male employees tend to be paid more, reach higher positions and are more likely to work in higher-paid industries.
Collectively, the UK’s 15 million working women are missing out on £138 billion (£137,682,320,000) each year. The gap widens further when part-time work is taken into account.
This year, to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, the Royal Mint has released a new 50 pence piece. To give an idea of how much money women are missing out on, if the Royal Mint only made new fifty pence pieces every day, it would take more than 1,048 years for it to produce enough to plug a single year’s pay gap. Placing all of these fifty pence pieces side by side would reach the moon and back ten times.
Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:
“We may have an equal vote but women are still fighting for equal pay. Young women are more likely to be on low pay and many are resorting to food banks or falling into debt.
“We need urgent action to close the pay gap. Let’s not just make new coins; let’s look at who they’re going to – because they certainly won’t be going to women!
“Real equality means supporting women into better-paid, male-dominated sectors like engineering and construction and tackling low pay in women-dominated sectors. Helping parents share childcare more equally and supporting women back into the workforce after taking time out through flexible working opportunities would help, too.
“Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of unequal pay.”