TUC highlights poor state of women’s pay

Women
are more likely to be poor than men, according to a TUC report out today.

The
report says that nearly two-thirds of adult women (62 per cent) have a below
average income, compared to just over half of the adult male population (56 per
cent).

The
report, Beating the gender poverty gap, suggests that women’s responsibility
for children is likely to increase their chances of being poor, and says that a
lack of affordable childcare makes it difficult for many women to work their
way out of poverty.

And,
the TUC notes, according to last year’s New Earnings Survey, from 2001 to 2002,
the part time gender pay gap widened by nearly 0.5 per cent. In 2002, part time
women earned just 58.6 per cent of the hourly rate of full time male workers,
compared with 58.9 per cent in 2001. Over the same period, the full-time gender
pay gap grew by 0.3 per cent to 81.5 per cent.

TUC
general secretary elect Brendan Barber said: "Life is tough for hundreds
of thousands of women who experience poverty from childhood through to old age.
Many families are poor because their mothers cannot afford to work and pay for
expensive childcare. And even women lucky enough to be able to afford to work
often find themselves earning so little that they cannot afford to save for
their old age. The most effective way to lift women out of a life of poverty
would be to eradicate the gender pay gap, to allow women to earn a decent wage
for the work they do."

Beating
the gender poverty gap calls for a variety of measures which it believes will
help alleviate women’s poverty including:


The introduction of government targets for raising women’s individual incomes,
and for ending the full-time and part-time gender pay gap within 10 years.


An increase in the minimum wage to between £5 and £5.30 by next year.


Reform of, and substantial increases in, the basic state pension, including a
restoration of the link with average earnings, the introduction of compulsory
employer contributions to pension schemes and the prohibition of sex-based
annuity rates.

www.tuc.org.uk

By Quentin Reade

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