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Calls for action on Equal Pay Day

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Campaign groups have said that it could take up to 100 years to address inequalities between men and women

Pay gaps between men and women have been highlighted by campaign groups.

Calls have been made for further action to be taken to mark Equal Pay Day today (Friday).

The date is set by the day in the year when women start to work for free because of the difference in the average pay of men and women – and hasn’t changed in the past three years.

Cut the Gap Scotland has said that recent action taken to address pay gaps has been positive, but there is more work to be done.

Director Anna Ritchie Allan said: “Mandatory pay gap reporting is a start, but we know from the experience of the Scottish public sector where employers already publish their pay gap, that reporting alone doesn’t create change. Employers have to identify why they’ve got a pay gap, and then take steps to address the problem.

“The rhetoric on the pay gap has changed, which is welcome, but the reality is you’re more likely to see a woman cleaning a boardroom table than sitting at it. The time for change is now, which is why Close the Gap has called for a national strategy to tackle Scotland’s gender pay gap.”

The Fawcett Society has said that the gap between earnings for men and women continues to widen, and could take up to a century to address.

Chief executive Sam Smethers said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.

“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know that younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”