Women Work For Free Two Months Every Year

The average woman effectively works for free for nearly two months of the year compared to the average man, according to analysis published by the TUC today (Friday).  The gender pay gap for all employees is 15.4%.  This pay gap means that women wait 56 days before they start to get paid at all during 2022, on Women’s Pay Day today.

Sector variations

Even in jobs that tend to be dominated by female workers like education and social care the gender pay gap persists.

In these sectors women get paid much less per hour on average than men, both because they are more likely to be in part-time jobs or are in lower-paid roles.

  • In education the gender pay gap is 25.4%, so the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (93 days) and has to wait until Saturday 2 April 2022 before she starts getting paid compared to the average man.
  • In health care and social work jobs, where the gender pay gap is 18.3%, the average woman waits 67 days for her Women’s Pay Day on Monday 7 March 2022.

The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. The gender pay gap (32.3%) is the equivalent of 118 days, meaning it’s nearly a third of the year before Women’s Pay Day finally kicks in on 27 April 2022.

Age-related variations

The TUC analysis shows that the gender pay gap is widest for older women, so they have to wait longer for their Women’s Pay Day.

  • Women aged between 40 and 49 have a pay gap of 21.3% and work for free until Friday 18 March 2022.
  • And women aged 50 and 59 have the highest gender pay gap (21.8%).  They work 80 days of the year for free before they are paid on Sunday 20 March 2022.
Regional variations

The analysis also shows that in some parts of the country gender pay gaps are even bigger, so their Women’s Pay Day is later in the year.

  • The gender pay gap is largest in the south east (18.9%). Women in this region work 69 days for free and their pay day isn’t until Wednesday 9 March.
  • And women in the south west (16.6%) and the east midlands (16.8%) have to wait until next week (Tuesday 1 March and Wednesday 2 March) for their pay days.

Regional variations in the gender pay gap are likely to be caused by differences in the types of jobs and industries that are most common in that part of the UK, says the TUC.

TUC’s analysis

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that working women still don’t have pay parity. At current rates of progress, it will take nearly 30 more years to close the gender pay gap.

“The last two years have shown us that employers can do more to help women balance caring responsibilities and work. Flexible working is vital to mums keeping their jobs and progressing at work and is our best chance of closing the gender pay gap.

“All jobs must be advertised with the possible flexible options clearly stated, and all workers must have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day in a job.”

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