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Reducing gender pay gap 'would add £150bn to economy'

Published 12/10/2016

The gender pay gap represents the wasted potential of women's talents and skills, an equality campaigner has said
The gender pay gap represents the wasted potential of women's talents and skills, an equality campaigner has said

The gender pay gap will remain for a lifetime unless the Government and employers do more to tackle the difference between the wages of men and women, it has been warned.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of women's rights charity The Fawcett Society, said a number of barriers were in the way of closing the gap, including bosses, some recruiters and people who regard working mothers as being less committed to their jobs.

She told a conference in London: "The gender pay gap is a productivity gap. It represents the wasted potential of women's talents and skills. Research shows that reducing it would see over 800,000 more women in work and add £150 billion to our economy by 2025.

"These findings show that the majority of women are going to be looking for employers who are taking action to address it. It is less having a gap that matters and more what you are going to do about it.

"Gender pay gap reporting is an important next step and we welcome it, but unless we take action to equalise leave entitlements and enable men to do more caring, advertise all jobs on a flexible working basis unless there is a good business reason not to, and get more women into higher paid science, technology or engineering sectors, we won't close it."

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