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MPs call for action to be taken on 'motherhood penalty'

24 Mar 2016

MPs have called on the Government to combat a ‘motherhood penalty’ that has left women being paid less than men.

A new report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee revealed that the Government has failed to reduce the gender pay gap.

The report also suggested that new policies were required to tackle issues such as low part-time wages being paid to women and their ‘disproportionate responsibility’ for taking care of children.

It suggested that providing support to both women and men so that both genders can take equal responsibility for childcare ‘is one of the most effective policy levers in reducing the gender pay gap’.

Furthermore, the document also warned that the UK economy has suffered as a result of the failure to minimise the gender pay gap. It estimated that a failure to utilise women’s skills was costing the UK £36 billion a year – which amounts to 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The difference between the amounts that are paid to men and women currently stands at 19.2%, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

Maria Miller, chair of the Committee, stated: ‘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.’ 

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