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In a report to the 2008 Women’s Conference on the ‘Gender Pay Gap’ the TUC highlighted the strong link between the gender pay gap and women’s poverty. The report found that the interconnectedness of part-time work, occupational gender segregation and the onset of family responsibilities hits women in the UK particularly hard. Low pay is an important cause of women’s poverty and it affects both women and their children.
|Download the new report for International Women's Day "Time to end women's poverty (PDF)|
Women and children are significantly more likely to be poor than men. The TUC believes that the poverty of children is inextricably linked to the poverty of their mothers. An IPPR report on Low Pay in 2006 found that 16.1% of men in work were low paid, compared with 29% of women workers. 45.7% of part-time workers, who are disproportionately women, are low paid. There are 1.4 million children in working households living in poverty – half of all poor children.
|The TUC has produced a set of three posters raising awareness about women's low pay and poverty. More information and ordering details|
Moreover, mothers face considerable discrimination in the labour market. The Equalities Review found that mothers face more discrimination in the workplace than any other group. A survey of 122 recruitment agencies found that more than 70% of them had been asked by their clients not only to avoid hiring pregnant women, but any women of childbearing age. The Equal Opportunities Commission estimated in 2005 that 30,000 women in the UK were pushed out of their jobs due to pregnancy every year.
Mothers also face lower pay and fewer opportunities to find jobs that match their skill and experience level, becoming trapped in part-time, low-paid and low-status work. Research into the ‘family gap’ - the difference in hourly wages between women with, and without children in seven industrialised countries and found that the highest wage penalties were in the UK: 8 percent for one child, 24 percent for two children and 31 percent for three children
This is why the TUC’s campaign against poverty sets out to tackle three inter-locked problems:
- Women’s poverty
- Children’s poverty
- In-work poverty
TUC Women’s Conference passed a composite resolution on Women’s Poverty in 2008: the full text can be viewed here