Women twice as likely to be low paid

Women at work

Women are twice as likely to be stuck in low paid jobs, with is contributing to levels of child poverty in the UK, a new report reveals.

There is currently a 17.2% full-time work gender pay gap, with the average male hourly wage £14.98 compared to £12.40 for women. The report reveals that 30% of working women have incomes of less than £100 a week, compared with 14% of men. In addition, more than 75% of part-time workers are women.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), together with the End Child Poverty coalition and the Fawcett Society, produced the report. It claims that the disproportionate level of low pay among women has huge implications for their children's living standards.

For example, according to the report, 1.4 million children – accounting for 50% of all poor children - are being raised in working households, while 57% of those living in poverty have at least one parent with a job. The government has said it is committed to halving child poverty by 2010, but the TUC claims that tackling women’s pay issues is key to achieving this.

The TUC says many mothers continue to face employment discrimination. Mothers in Britain are far more likely to be poor than anywhere else in Europe and, from the moment they conceive a child, women face immediate financial penalties with thousands losing their jobs and many more facing disadvantage and reduced opportunities in the workplace.

“Some of the country's most vulnerable workers are women - and having a child puts a woman at an even greater risk of being poor,” says Brendan Barber, of the TUC. “It's vital the government tackles low pay and takes action to stop discrimination against mothers now.”