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'Women to wait 150 years for equal pay'

india Updated: Jul 28, 2006 18:08 IST
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Women could earn less than men for the next 150 years owing to discrimination and ineffective government policies, according to a British study.

Thirty years after equality laws began to reduce the disparity between male and female pay, the narrowing gap has now almost stalled, the report by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics said.

"The pay gap between men and women has fallen quite dramatically over the past 30 years, though a sizeable gap still remains," the report said.

"We are used to each generation of women making progress relative to the one before. But this process has slowed with the current generation doing only slightly better than the previous one. As the gender pay gap at the age of 30 is about 20 per cent, this suggests it will take 150 years for this gap to disappear."

The disparity was blamed partly on penalisation of women who take maternity leave and work part-time after having children.

The author of the report Alan Manning said: "The problem is not that women are choosing one career, such as hairdressing, rather than another, such as plumbing. It is that they are continuing to choose family over career at some point in their life.

"When they return to the labour market they often work part-time. Our labour market severely punishes those who sacrifice career for family," he said.

The report on women's salaries found that even those who worked full-time and did not take career breaks would earn 12 per cent less than their male counterparts after 10 years.

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