This week, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) revealed that working women are still underpaid and undervalued today. The analysis suggested women are more likely than men to be key workers and so be on low pay.
It may be 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was introduced but, right now, things are not looking great for women.
Gender pay gap reporting has come to a halt because of the Coronavirus crisis which has meant that only half of companies who should be reporting are actually doing so because of the disruption to businesses.
The pandemic has also meant that women are now even less likely to challenge pay discrimination for fear that they may lose their jobs.
Of an estimated 9.8 million key workers, nearly two-thirds are women, while 2.6 million female key workers earn less than £10 an hour, said the TUC.
Frances O’Grad, TUC general secretary said in a statement, “Fifty years after brave women won the legal right to equal pay, Coronavirus has confirmed that pay inequality is still rife in Britain today.
“Working women have led the fight against Coronavirus, but millions of them are stuck in low-paid and insecure jobs.
“As we emerge from this crisis, we need a reckoning on how we value and reward women’s work. Without proper change it will take decades to close the gender pay gap.”
New Institute for Fiscal Studies data, published this week, also showed how the current crisis is being felt disproportionately by women more than men who are one and half times more likely to have lost or given up their job and more likely to have been furloughed.
The data also showed the impact of caring for women has got worse, with mothers picking up two hours per day more than fathers while also trying to juggle work and caring for children.
Joe Levenson of the Young Women’s Trust said: “Even before the Coronavirus crisis began, young women were locked out from accessing equal pay and opportunities in the workplace.”
She added, “Young women are amongst the hardest hit by the financial and domestic impact of Coronavirus as they are pushed back to caring roles, reduced hours and will return to work at the mercy of their employers’ discretion.”
Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, said: “The work of those women whose drive and determination led to the Equal Pay Act has not been forgotten. And, as we celebrate today, we are determined to continue their legacy.
“We should use this time to push forward better, and more modern ways of working and flexibility in our jobs.
“As our country recovers from this unprecedented global crisis and we rebuild our economy, we must rebuild it so it works for everyone.”