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What is the gender gap?...
What is the gender gap?

The gender pay gap is a term used to describe the difference between men's and women's average hourly earnings, which currently stands at 18%. For example, women working full time earn on average 82p for every pound a man earns.

At the time of the 1975 Equal Pay Act, the gap stood at 30%, so some progress has been made in achieving parity. Most employers believe if they are paying men and women the same rate for the same job then equal pay is not an issue, but the causes of the gender pay gap are more complex.

The Equal Pay Taskforce, set up by the Equal Opportunities Commission, says the main factors causing the gap are:

>> The unequal impact of a woman's family contributions - more women having to work part time to juggle their family and caring responsibilities - this affects their earning power and opportunities for promotion

>> Occupational segregation - 60% of women are working in just 10% of jobs. Women are clustered in the lower grades

>> Discrimination in pay systems - pay systems have become more complex, with value judgments made about the pay points for individual employees. These often discriminate against women. These include performance-related pay, bonus schemes and lack of transparency in pay systems.

Local government has for some years been working with unions to implement single-status pay and grading to create a nationally agreed job evaluation scheme; however, success is patchy.

LGC's survey of local government managers (LGC, 7 April) showed 19% of men earned more than£80,000, compared with 11% of women.

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