Gender equality still years away

Gender equality is still generations away with significant gaps remaining in areas such as pensions savings, pay and flexible working.

Completing the Revolution, the final report from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) before it is absorbed into the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights on 1 October, has identified a number of areas where there is still significant gender inequality.

The existing pay gap, for example, is predicted to take 25 years to close where part-time pay is concerned, and 20 years for full-time pay. Women working part time earn 38% less per hour than men working full time, while full-time female employees earn 17% less per hour than men.

There is also still a considerable gap between men and women’s pensions, which is predicted to take 45 years to equalise. Retired women’s income is currently 40% less than men’s.

The report also showed that it will take up to 65 years to have a more equitable balance of women at the top of FTSE-100 companies.

When it comes to flexible working, however, women are 63% more likely to work flexibly than men. This gap is unlikely to change, despite half of working men saying that they would like to work more flexibly.

For example, in terms of a ‘power gap’ it will take women up to 65 years to have more equitable balance of women at the top of FTSE 100 companies.

Jenny Watson, chair of the EOC, said: “Today, most women work, many men no longer define themselves as breadwinners and both sexes often struggle to find the time they need to care for others in their lives. Despite the many advances over recent years, Britain’s institutions have not caught up with these changes.

“A country that channels women into low-paid work, fails to adequately support families and forces people who want to work flexibly to trade down in jobs pays a high price in terms of child poverty, family breakdown and low productivity.”