Women who work full-time in their 50s earn 20% less than men, research by the Trades Union Congress revealed yesterday.
Their research which was based on figures from the Office of National Statistics found that the disparity in pay corresponds to smaller pensions. The worst hit by the gender pay gap are women aged between 50-59. This isn’t a shock, and it’s why I have consistently supported moves designed to decrease the gender pay gap.
However, there is another side to this problem, namely the level of support provided to older women.
Women in their 50s are already burdened with a pension system that has hit them hard. Many women have not had the same opportunity as men to make savings, nor contribute to a pension pot like their male counterparts.
Equally, many find it difficult to work full-time later in life because they are expected to take on familial duties such as caring for older parents or other loved ones.
Low pay, therefore, remains a problem for many thousands of women many of whom may earn in the region of £10,000 which, as Frances O’ Grady, General Secretary of the TUC said, is barely enough to live off let alone to save.
We know that women still earn less than men in their careers, but this figure increases when women reach their 50s. All of this is made worse after the government decided to increase the state pension age.
Many women will want to continue working, but they must not penalised for only being able to work part-time due to responsibility for other people. Women’s pay shouldn’t be disproportionately affected because they have to take on caring roles. Neither should they give up decent pay or interesting careers often built up over many years.