Gender pay gap still exists and needs work, claims research group

The gender pay gap has decreased in Greater Manchester but more work needs to be done according to figures released by a research and advocacy group.

GM4Women2028 announced results of the third annual Pankhurst-Fawcett Scorecard, on February 6 via an online event attended by more than a hundred people.

The scorecard is used to conduct annual reviews of gender equality data with the goal of achieving equality across specific indicators by 2028 – the centenary of the equality franchise.

The employment figures are one of five indicators used, the other four include, safety, culture and activity, education and participation.

Jill Rubery is a Professor at the University of Manchester and Director of the Work and Equalities Institute, she and her team had collated data from various databases on employment.

She said: “The gender pay gap has narrowed quite significantly compared to the national average.”

Ms Rubery explained while the numbers may look like good news, on further analysis, they reveal that it’s because of the lack of low paid jobs which have disappeared as a result of the pandemic.

Ms Rubery said: “The gender pay gap is narrowing but it’s just because you’ve put all these people out of work and that’s not what you call progress.

“We need to pay attention to what kind of jobs women have as well as what they are earning in Greater Manchester.”

Speakers at the event, included Helen Pankhurst activist, author and great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst leader and founder of the British suffragettes movement and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham who pledged his commitment to closing the gender gap.

Numbers this year indicate what may be seen as grim overall but there are concerns that next year will not be much better.

“The pandemic is going to make it worse. The impact is not fully captured in these figures.

“Next year I can confidently predict the gap narrow further and employment caps will be larger.

“That’s really disturbing so we don’t want to present this as good news,” said Rubery.

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