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Government 'ignoring' evidence which could help end gender pay gap

Women lag behind men in terms of pay in the workforce. Credit: PA

The Government will fail to eliminate the gender pay gap in a generation if it continues to "ignore" evidence to help achieve its goal, MPs have warned.

It comes after concerns were raised that ministers are not effectively tackling the causes of inequalities in pay between men and women.

The cross-party Women and Equalities Committee made 17 recommendations last March, but the majority were rejected in the Government's response last month.

The measures included:

  • Addressing a pay "penalty" suffered by part-time workers
  • Help for parents to share childcare
  • Support for women returning to work after having children
Childcare can affect parents ability to get back into the workforce. Credit: PA

Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, said: "The Government says there is no place for a gender pay gap in modern Britain and has restated its pledge to end the pay gap within a generation.

"But without effectively tackling the key issues of flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities, and supporting women aged over 40 back into the workforce, the gender pay gap will not be eliminated.

"It is deeply disappointing that our recommendations have not been taken on board by Government."

The committee is calling for evidence on shared parental leave, help for women over 40 finding work, and whether all jobs should be flexible.

The committee is calling for evidence on shared parental leave, help for women over 40 finding work, and whether all jobs should be flexible.

Meanwhile, a separate report found that work opportunities for women had improved "rapidly" since 2000, with the UK ranked 13th out of 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But a study by PwC also found that the UK falls behind the number of women in full-time jobs, coming near the bottom of the list.

On current trends, the gender pay gap will not be closed until 2041, the research found.

Despite increased work opportunities for women the gender pay gap remains. Credit: PA

Laura Hinton, executive board member at PwC, said: "While it's encouraging that the UK is making progress on closing the gender pay gap, it is depressing that it will still take around a generation to close it completely."

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Government needs to up its game and tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap - not ignore them.

"This means removing the barriers that stop women getting better-paid jobs, and helping parents to share out caring responsibilities more equally.

"Ministers need to stop dragging their heels and challenge workplace discrimination full on."