A recent pay gap event has revealed that 53 per cent of women in Devon earn less than the living wage.
This stands in stark contrast to only 19 per cent of men.
Fawcett Devon, a women’s equality society, have appealed to local organisations, including Local Enterprise Partnerships, chambers of commerce and education providers to address this unacceptable situation.
Ben Nield and Jackie Longworth, from Exeter University and Fairplay South West respectively, each spoke at an event held by Fawcett Devon to address the factors contributing to this excessive pay gap in the South West.
Ben Nield, using information provided by the Office of National Statistics commented that women’s overall earnings are lower than men’s for reasons including changes in labour, work patterns and differences in pay and educational achievement.
He said: “Discrimination, in different forms, is a common current running through these.”
Even when comparing the figures to the living wage set forth by the Living Wage Foundation, it is clear that 34 per cent of all women in Devon currently earn less than the living wage, alongside 42 per cent of women in part time work.
Speakers frequently attributed this difference in earnings to family care.
Jackie Longworth said: “There are two main reasons women are suffering more than men. Firstly they are paid less per hour. And secondly many women are unable to work full time.
“Part time jobs are typically done by women and they become known as women’s work and have long been undervalued in society.”
Jackie also commented that a lack of high quality affordable childcare and gender stereotyping contribute to the pay gap.
She said, “The bottom line is that there are a lot of women out there who are very capable and hard working, who could be paid more simply because they deserve it.
“There is very little done to broaden people’s horizons for what would be typical beyond boys and girls. There is so much that needs to be addressed and so much that organisations and employers can do to measure the gap.”
Fawcett Devon’s Coordinator, Yvonne Atkinson said, “We are asking these organisations, as part of Equal Pay Day on 4th November, to pledge to develop an action plan to end the gender pay gap in Devon.”