UKIP MEP Margot Parker has called on the Government to do more to cut the gender pay gap.
The East Midlands MEP, who sits on the FEMM Committee for women’s’ rights and gender equality, was reacting after the publication of a report funded by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The reports states that, on average, women in paid work receive about 18 per cent less per hour than men
And the pay gap between men and women widens consistently for 12 years after the first child is born, by which point women receive 33 per cent less pay per hour than men.
Mrs Parker said: “We must look at getting this pay gap narrowed further, particularly when it comes to women returning to work after childbirth.
“It is grossly unfair on women that the gap widens after the arrival of children, whether that is due to them missing promotions, or gathering less work experiences.
“Remember, there is huge, un-tapped workforce of women who simply cannot go back to work because, for example, they can only work weekends when their partner is home. The costs of childcare make it very difficult for women to get back into the workplace.
“I know of a well-qualified nurse in this position who would love to work weekdays but the system makes it too difficult.
“Women who return to work after they have had their children – no matter how long they are out of the workforce for – have so much to offer society. We have a duty to make sure they are treated fairly.”
Some of the findings from the report included:
*The current gap of 18 per cent compares with 28 per cent in 1993 and 23 per cent in 2003.
* The gender wage gap increases gradually after the arrival of children. Possible explanations include mothers missing out on promotions or simply accumulating less labour market experience
* Taking time out of paid work is associated with lower wages when returning - comparing women who had the same hourly wage before leaving paid work, wages when they return are on average 2 per cent lower for each year spent out of paid work in the interim.