Women in Scotland will earn more than £70,000 less over their lifetime than men because of the gender pay gap, new analysis has revealed.
The study by Labour shows that in every age group women earn less than men on average.
Over the course of a woman’s working life this amounts to £73,620 less on average, according to the data using the latest provisional figures from the Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2016,
Labour’s plan to close the gender pay gap include introducing a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing, ensuring all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work; introducing a £10 real Living Wage, making sure more businesses publish pay ratios and introducing gender audits of all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation.
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman, said the gender pay gap was affecting Scotland’s economy.
“It is shameful that under the SNP and the Tories women in Scotland could earn £73,620 less than men on average well into their careers. Closing the gender pay gap isn’t just a question of fairness – it is essential for our economy.”
Ms Baillie added: “Only Labour will take the radical steps to close the pay gap for good, like a real living wage and forcing companies to publish pay ratios.
“If a company thinks a woman is worth a lower wage than a man then under Labour we’ll force them to admit it.
“This gross inequality is wrong and is holding Scotland’s economy back – it must be tackled by the SNP and the Tories as a matter of urgency.”
Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender, the feminist campaigning organisation which is tackling the inequalities in resources and power between women and men north of the Border, said: “The pay gap is a indicator of women and girls’ different experience of education, training programmes, social security, and the labour market.
“Close the Gap has calculated that closing it would add around £17bn to the Scottish economy.
“Engender is pleased to be working with Scottish Government, Close the Gap and other civil society organisations and academics on Scotland’s first action plan to tackle all of the causes of the gender pay gap.”
Jamie Hepburn, MSP, minister for employability and training, said: “Labour have a cheek demanding that we do more to tackle the gender pay gap given that they fought tooth and nail to keep the powers to do so in the hands of the Tories rather than the Scottish Parliament during the Smith Commission negotiations.
“Equality for women is at the heart of our vision for a fairer Scotland.
Mr Hepburn added: “The full-time gender pay gap in Scotland is 6.6 per cent, compared with a UK-wide gap of 9.1 per cent, and we are committed to closing the gap further.
“We have lowered the threshold for listed public authorities in Scotland to publish their gender pay gap to organisations with more than 20 employees, and have established a stakeholder working group to help reduce the gender pay gap.”