Fri, 3 March 2023 at 6:00 am GMT
Half a million more working women are paid below the real living wage than their male counterparts, according to data from the Living Wage Foundation.
It says women have been harder hit by the cost of living crisis because they tend to earn less.
More than 2 million women are paid below the real living wage, the foundation said, representing 14% of all working women, compared with 1.4 million (9%) men. Overall, 60% of all jobs that pay below the real living wage are held by women.
The level of the real living wage is calculated annually by the foundation, based on the costs of the basics required for a decent standard of living. The rate is currently £10.90 an hour across the UK, and £11.95 in London.
It is higher than the “national living wage” set by the government and is voluntarily paid by more than 12,000 UK employers, including Aviva, Lush, Burberry and Everton FC, as well as thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses, who have signed up to the scheme.
The foundation brought forward its annual increase by two months last September, and introduced the biggest single rise in its 11-year history in recognition of the squeeze on households from high inflation, and soaring food and energy bills.
The charity found that women are more likely to be on zero-hours work contracts, representing 13% of female and 9% of male workers.
Women are also less likely to be paid for a shift when it is cancelled. More than quarter of women on such contracts said they were not paid anything for a cancelled shift, compared with 17% of men.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said the research “demonstrates the reality that millions of women in the UK – often cleaners, catering staff and care workers – are more likely to be trapped in low-paying, insecure and precarious jobs.”
“International Women’s Day 2023 is focused on equity. The sticky floor of low pay and precarious work is holding women back,” she said. “True equity needs to start with a real living wage.”
The survey also highlighted the impact of low pay on female workers during the cost of living crisis, where three-quarters of women felt that their pay increased their anxiety levels, compared with 65% of men, while more women than men said their pay reduced their quality of life.