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Cornish women at a financial disadvantage following latest figures

Cornish women at a financial disadvantage following latest figures

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 1:30pm 13th March 2020. (Updated at 7:00am 15th March 2020)

Women in Cornwall are taking home a lower wage than men according to the Office of National Statistics. 

It is estimated that women in the county earned 15.4% less than men per hour in 2019 – ​compared to the UK average of 17.3%.

The gender pay gap is partly attributed to the fact women are more likely to work part-time – 41% of female workers in Cornwall did so in September last year, compared to ​15% of men.

But the gap is actually bigger among full-time workers in Cornwall. Women earn an average of 18.1% less per year than men, with a median salary of £22,701 in 2019, compared to £27,702 for men.

It’s half a century since the Equal Pay Act enshrined the right to equal wages for equal work in law.

But women continue to be at an economic disadvantage, taking home lower wages and shouldering the greater part of the care burden.

The World Economic Forum warns it could take another 100 years to close the global gender pay gap.

“Employers should be more open about their pay gaps and let local women know what they are doing to tackle them by publishing action plans." 

The Fawcett Society, Gender equality charity


The pensions gap

The pay gap follows women into their retirement, with experts highlighting how a penalty for working part-time is "short-changing" women.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show men in Cornwall collected an average of £25.82 more than women every week from their State Pension during August last year.

The average male pensioner took home £164.77 per week compared to £138.95 for females – meaning women receive 16% less.

Research has also highlighted a gender gap when it comes to private workplace pensions.

Thinktank the Pensions Policy Institute says women are being hit by a penalty on part-time work while they care for children or elderly relatives.

​Some poorer pensioners can apply for Pension Credit, an income-related benefit which tops up their weekly income to a minimum amount.

In Cornwall, 17,942 people were claiming Pension Credit in August, 63% of them women, reflecting a population of female retirees with lower state and private pensions.


Who cares?

The most recent localised figures on unpaid care come from the 2011 census, which asked Cornwall residents about the care they provided for disabled or sick family members or friends, excluding ordinary child care.

Women made up 58% of the 62,982 people who said they provided at least some unpaid care.

Overall, 14% of women said they were carers compared to 10% of men.

While most carers provided between one and 19 hours of care every week, women made up 60% of those who said they did at least 50 hours per week.

It was a similar story across the country, with women accounting for 58% of unpaid carers, and 60% of those doing 50 hours or more of caring every week.

"The impact of the pay gap is much more far-reaching than an individual's monthly pay packet.

“It leads to a lifetime of income inequality for women. And some groups of women, for example women of colour, face even larger penalties.”

Gemma Rosenblatt, head of policy and campaigns at the Fawcett Society

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