Members’ area

The cost of gender inequality

The cost of women's labour market inequality

Women's labour market inequality affects not only women and their families. There is clear and mounting evidence that gender inequality at work comes with a cost to employers and the wider economy. A key cause of the gender pay gap and therefore women's labour market inequality, is the lack of quality part-time and flexible work, which erects a barrier to women’s progression into higher paid and more senior positions, and results in many women working below their skill level. Women are also prevented from working in jobs commensurate with their skill level by discriminatory and biased recruitment and promotion practice, and workplace cultures that do not feel inclusive to them. This represents a loss of female talent and skills to employers. Women's under-representation in STEM sectors is correlated with sectoral skills shortages, which is a drag on economic growth. A review of the evidence of the economic gains of closing the gender gap in employment found that it could add £17 billion a year to Scotland’s economy.

The cost of violence against women

The economic cost of violence against women in the UK is estimated to be at £40 billion.This includes the cost to public services and the lost economic output of affected women. Domestic abuse is estimated to cost the UK £16 billion, which includes an estimated £1.9 billion lost due to decreased productivity, administrative difficulties from unplanned time off, lost wages and sick pay. It therefore makes good business sense for employers to support employees who have experienced gender-based violence, and to take steps to address gender inequality at work and prevent violence against women.

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