Prepare your daughter for working life. Give her less pocket money than your son.

by Helen Miller

Published: 23 Aug 2016

Image of Close the Gap campaign postcard

This Close the Gap postcard tells us everything we need to know about the inherent inequality in the labour market! Girls are growing up today excelling in school and forging careers in male dominated sectors only to find that their male colleagues earn on average 12% more than them.

The two reports published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Chartered Management Institute highlight again the scale of the challenge we have in tackling the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap doesn’t begin and end with our pay slips as a true reflection of “our worth”. It’s the result of entrenched inequality that disadvantages women from birth through education and into employment where male-orientated work cultures dominate and women begin to lose out on opportunities for progression.

This is borne out in the IFS report, which highlights the significant impact that having a family has on women’s pay. The IFS report shows that while men’s wages tend to grow rapidly in their 20s and 30s women’s wages plateau. The arrival of children accounts for a gradual widening of the gender pay gap with age, so that by the time the first child is 12 years old a woman’s hourly earnings are a third less than men’s.

The gender pay gap exists across all sectors and pay scales, the CMI report highlights again that women are underrepresented in senior positions and that, even when they are, they still earn between 13% and 16% less than their male colleagues.

The three main causes of the gender pay gap are occupational segregation, lack of flexible working opportunities and discriminatory pay and grading systems. At the Commission we are working to address these causes in a number of ways.  We are working with employers to promote family friendly workplaces and flexibility, working to ensure that Scottish public authorities meeting their public sector equality duty to publish their gender pay gap and earlier this year published ground breaking research on the true extent of pregnancy discrimination in Scotland today.

It is an injustice that women continue to experience such stark inequality on pay but we are committed to working with our partners in Scotland to make sure girls and boys can look forward to the same pay for the same work in the future.