Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt today announced plans to give women better job opportunities in traditionally male industries, such as engineering and manufacturing.
The proposals are part of a drive to close the 19.5 per cent gender pay-gap by tackling ‘occupational segregation’ – where men and women are overly concentrated in certain jobs, such as women and nursing or men and construction.
Research shows that more than 60 per cent of all working women are concentrated in just 10 occupations, which typically pay the least. Although they make up 49 per cent of the workforce, they make up less than 10 per cent of employees in engineering, and just 1 per cent of employees in construction.
The new drive will focus on helping women who want to work in male-dominated sectors such as IT, construction, engineering and science.
Hewitt said: “It’s not Government’s job to dictate employment options to people, but we must give women more choice if we are to address the chronic pay gap.
“There are many women who want to get into science or manufacturing jobs, but are put off by the macho, male-dominated image, and the misconception that a woman simply couldn’t do the job.”
Hewitt also announced that the DTI will provide £80,000 of funding for an Equal Pay Experts Panel, run by the TUC.