A group of MPs is demanding that greater steps are taken to combat a “motherhood penalty” that has left women being paid less than men.
A report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee said the government has failed to close the pay gap.
It said policies were needed to tackle barriers such as women’s disproportionate responsibility for childcare and low part-time wages.
It warned that the UK economy was suffering as a result.
It estimated that a failure to use women’s skills was costing the country £36bn a year, equal to 2% of GDP.
The wage difference between men and women stands at 19.2%, according to the Office for National Statistics, which has barely changed for four years.
Maria Miller, chairwoman of the committee, said: “The gender pay gap is holding back women and that isn’t going to change unless the government changes its policies now.
“The pay gap represents a massive loss to the UK’s economy and we must address it in the face of an ageing workforce, a skills crisis and the need for a more competitive economy.”
The report said that providing equal support to men and women for looking after children, as well as other forms of unpaid caring roles, “is one of the most effective policy levers in reducing the gender pay gap”.
It suggested the introduction of three months, well-paid leave for fathers and second parents to share care more equally.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of the charity Working Families, said: “The ‘motherhood penalty’ is a price that women continue to pay at work and at home. The answer lies with fathers.
“A decent period of paid paternity leave would allow more fathers to care for their young children and push this out of the domain of ‘women’s work’ for good.”
The report also criticised the lack of support in getting women back into …read more
Source:: BBC UK