Women in employment: EHRC report

Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published their first three year report on the ‘fairness’ of British society. It looked at various demographics and minorities and there are some surprising and some sad facts that have come out of it. You can read all the data here, but I of course am going to concentrate on two things: women and employment.

Some fun facts:

  • The number of women in employment increased by twice the average between 2006-2008
  • More women than ever are now in managerial positions – 1 in 3 managerial roles is taken by a woman
  • 40% of women in employment work in the public sector, making them particularly vulnerable to the recession (compared to 15% of men)
  • At age 40, men earn 27% more than women
  • The pay gap has stalled after declining for 30 years
  • Women in their 20s get paid 5% less than men
  • Women occupy 77% of administration and secretarial posts but only 6% of engineering
  • Women out-perform men at every level of education, including degrees, and tend to have better qualifications than men
  • Women are significantly more likely to be in part-time
    employment than men (43%) and the biggest rise comes from those over 50 going back to work
  • Women are less likely to be self-employed (5% v 14%)
  • On average a part-time female worker will earn 39.4% less than a full-time man, although a woman working part-time earned 1.9% more than a man working part-time
  • Women’s pay peaks at age 35-39
  • Gender differences in career expectations explain only 12% of the pay gap as men and women expect women to shoulder childcare (and elderly care) during their career
  • Women with a degree are far less likely to lose out on pay due to motherhood compared to women with non-university qualifications or no degree (4%/25%/58% in loss of earnings)

It’s got a few contradictions: women peak in terms of earnings at the time when many are leaving employment to have children, women with degrees only lose 4% of earnings yet are still earning 27% less than men. I’m sure that there are those who will point out the good: the pay gap was declining (WAS declining, thanks), part-time women earn more (yeah 1.9% is a massive amount compared to 27%) and more women found employment over three years than most men (apart from black men). But really, if this report doesn’t make you go ‘oh, it seems being a woman means you get paid less and are promoted less than men are and that’s unfair’ then you, yes you, are a misogynist pig.

From this report, I take a main conclusion: women are better qualified yet enter the world of work already on an inferior level of pay, parenthood has a lesser effect on women’s earnings than many would have us believe (accounting for the other 15% in the pay gap boils down to being paid less because we have ovaries, not because we’ve used them), and women are going to lose out massively in the coming cuts due to being in the public sector, within ‘support services’ such as Administration and working part-time.

So basically, this sucks and is unfair and discrimination is alive and well in 2010 against a group of people who aren’t even a minority and who have better qualifications. Anyone else feel like reclaiming the women ‘feminism’ and protesting for equal pay? Because I sure as hell do.

Full report of employment is here.

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