Research by the London School of Economics has revealed that if current performance is maintained, it will be another 150 years before women’s pay is equal to that of their male counterparts.
The gap in pay between men and women had been narrowing for the past 30 years, but has now started to become static, analysts at the Centre for Economic Performance said.
Although women taking career breaks to have children and then returning to work part-time was a factor, the researchers said this was only partly to blame for the discrepancy.
Women who do work full-time and do not take career breaks earn, on average, 12 per cent less than men after ten years in the workplace.
“We are used to each generation of women making progress relative to the one before,” said LSE Professor of Economics Alan Manning in his report.
“But this process has slowed with the current generation doing only slightly better than the previous one, this suggests it will take 150 years at the present rate of progress for this gap to disappear.”
Professor Manning blames discrimination and ineffective government policies for the problem, saying: “Discrimination against women used to be blatant whereas it is now more subtle.”
He also points out that the discrepancy between men and women’s pay does not occur when they first enter the workplace – it comes later.
This might be because women choose occupations which have limited potential for wage growth but also because women are less likely to become managers. Professor Manning says: “There is still considerable mystery surrounding why women do not make as much progress as men in the labour market.”