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Women Work Without Pay for 54 Days a Year (Or 114 if They Work in Finance)

3 minute read

Last week, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed that the average woman in paid employment works for free for nearly 2 months of the year. As such, the 23rd of February marked TUC’s Women’s Pay Day: the day the average woman stops working for free compared to the average man.

According to TUC’s analysis, the gender pay gap currently sits at 14.9%. While this is bad enough, a deeper look reveals that older women and those working in certain industries effectively work for free for much longer than 54 days a year.



TUC’s analysis uncovered that women over the age of 60 have a gender pay gap of 18.4% and work for free 67 days a year. Ironically, their 2023 pay will begin on International Women’s Day, the 8th of March.

Women between the ages of 50 and 59 are treated even more unjustly, with TUC sharing that they have the highest pay gap (20.8%). As a result, women in this age group will work without getting paid for a total of 76 days a year.

These findings point to another issue: the fact that women’s pay decreases when their caring responsibilities increase. In other words, the gender pay gap widens when women become mothers. TUC’s General Secretary Paul Nowak commented on these findings in a press release, sharing:                         

“It’s clear that the gender pay gap widens dramatically once women become mums. We need ministers to fund childcare from the end of maternity leave to support working parents – along with better wages and recognition for childcare workers. And both parents need to be able to share responsibility for caring for their kids. Dads and partners need better rights to well-paid leave that they can take in their own right. Otherwise, mums will continue to take on the bulk of caring responsibilities – and continue to take the financial hit."



The gender pay gap is influenced not only by a woman’s age but by the industry in which she works. Although there tend to be more women than men working in education, they still earn less per hour and are more likely to be in part-time or lower-paid jobs. TUC reveals that the average woman working in education works without pay for 81 days, with the gender pay gap sitting at 22.2%.

Unfortunately, this is still not the widest gender pay gap or the longest that a woman has to work for free. The gender pay gap was found to be a whopping 31.2% in finance and insurance, meaning that the average woman works without pay for 114 days of the year.

“Working women deserve equal pay. But at current rates of progress, it will take more than 20 years to close the gender pay gap. That's just not good enough. We can’t consign yet another generation of women to pay inequality. It’s clear that just publishing gender pay gaps isn’t working. Companies must be required to publish action plans to explain what steps they’ll take to close their pay gaps. And bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined,” Nowak commented.

Find out more about the TUC’s analysis here.



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