Working mothers experience a widening pay gap

Kathryn Nawrockyi, Gender Equality Director, Business in the Community comments on today's report from IFS which has found that the gender pay gap widens year on year after women become mothers.

 

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, Kathryn said: “We need to move away from this idea that because someone has a family they are less committed to their job – why would that be the case? It is so often described as a “woman’s choice” to have children, but men make that decision too. We need to move forward to a point where we can talk about the division of labour being shared in the home as well as in the workplace.

“For this to change, there has to be both cultural and policy change. Until Shared Parental Leave becomes a genuinely attractive offer, couples will do what is most sensible for them in their financial situation. At Business in the Community we are working with employers to move forward on Shared Parental Leave, offering equal parental leave packages for women and men, and incentivising fathers to take time out to spend with their family, so that the penalty doesn’t constantly fall on women. 

“We must acknowledge that many women also face serious discrimination from their employers when they become pregnant and/or return from maternity leave, and so while this research looks at those women currently in work, we also need to factor in those women who are pushed out of the workforce altogether. 

“The new government legislation on gender pay data reporting, which will come into force this autumn, will help to create a level of public accountability for closing the gender pay gap that doesn’t currently exist. We need to help employers to understand that the gender pay gap is not just about unequal pay – there are far more significant factors at play.”