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Stereotypes at schools blamed for gender pay gap widening

The Women and Work Commission have published their final report, “

Shaping a Fairer Future – a review of the recommendations of the Women and Work Commission three years on

” The body was originally set up in 2004 by the government and was tasked to investigate  how to close the gender pay and opportunities gap within a generation. While they have commended progress in the public sector and access to continued learning and development they report that the gender pay gap has still widened to 22.6% from 21.9%.



The commission blames a number of key areas for stalling progress and has claimed significant progress is yet to be made in order to tackle the remaining gulf between Men and Women’s pay. Controversially the commission blames the education system for systematically programming females to adopt “traditional jobs”, saying this is a key area in particular that needs to be addressed.



Speaking to the BBC Baroness Prosser, chair of the commission said breaking down stereotypes at school should now be the government's priority to ensure girls are not funnelled into the "five c" careers - caring, cashiering, clerical, cleaning and catering - where pay levels tend to be lower.



Campaigners argue that while the recommendations from the report would make a difference, the real issue is unearthing existing pay gaps. The Fawcett Society have repeatedly called for equal pay audits to be added to the forthcoming equality bill in order to surface current discrimination. The governments position thus far has been to encouarge companies to conduct pay audits, however there are provisions in the equality bill draft  to strengthen laws if pay gaps remain unchanged in 2013.

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posted by

Asif Yusuf

 

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