Members’ area

Women's labour market inequality

Gender inequality in the workplace and violence against women

The gender pay gap is the key indicator of women's labour market inequality and represents the divergent experiences men and women have in employment, and also in education, training, care and domestic labour.

Gender norms and stereotyping about women's capabilities and interests results in a stark segregation in the types of work that men and women do. In local government, this means women are more likely to work in homecare, admin, primary teaching, and early years and childcare, while men tend to work in IT, refuse collection and trades. A lack of quality part-time and flexible jobs, coupled with women’s disproportionate responsibility for caring, finds women under-represented in management and senior roles. While pay modernisation programmes in the public sector have addressed some of the historical gendered pay inequalities, some women are still paid less than men for doing equal work.

Women’s economic inequality reduces their financial independence, restricts their choices in employment, and in life, and creates a conducive context for violence against women. Women's higher levels of poverty and financial dependence can make it harder for women experiencing violence or abuse to move on and sustain good quality employment.

To address violence against women it is essential to address gender inequality in the workplace. By advancing women’s labour market equality we can reduce and prevent violence against women.

Women's experiences vary

While there are commonalities across women's experiences of employment, women are not a homogenous group. Disabled women, black and minority ethnic women, lesbian and bisexual women, trans women, Muslim women and other women of faith, refugee women, young women, and older women experience different, multiple barriers to labour market participation, and to progression within their occupation. Disabled women, and some groups of black and minority ethnic women are more likely to be underemployed in terms of skills, and experience higher pay gaps. Disabled, black and minority ethnic, and lesbian, bisexual and trans women are more likely to report higher levels of discrimination, bullying and harassment. Responses to women's labour market inequality was therefore by intersectional, and interventions must recognise women's multiple, intersecting identities.

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