20th November 2022

Equal Pay Day 2022: Women’s Missing Money

To mark Equal Pay Day 2022, the Fawcett Society is releasing a new report and data which shines a light on the double trouble women are facing due to the combined impact of the cost of living crisis and the Gender Pay Gap. This report also reveals that during 2022 women will, on average, take home £564 less than men each month  - up from £536 in 2021.

The additional money would make a HUGE difference. It would mean I could stop my second job resulting in more time spent with my young family and husband. It would alleviate a huge pressure and stop me being so exhausted from working two jobs alongside being the primary care giver for my children aged 3&5.

Our evidence shows that:

  • Women take home on average £564 less per month than men in 2022 (£536 in 2021)
  • More than half (53%) of women would use the additional money to turn on heating and lights more often, and 48% report that their mental health would improve
  • Over a third (35%) of women want to work but are prevented by reasons including a lack of flexible working options and affordable childcare
  • More than two thirds of women (68%) have struggled to pay their household bills in the last 6 months, rising to 80% for Black and minoritised women

We are calling on Government to:

  • Improve pay gap reporting by:
    • Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for employers
    • Requiring employers to publish action plans to tackle their pay gaps, so that real action is taken to reduce pay inequality with accountability and transparency built in
    • Lowering the threshold for pay gap reporting to 100 employees, bringing the UK closer to the standards set by other countries.
  • Require employers to offer flexible work arrangements as default and advertise jobs with flexibility built-in
  • Reform the childcare system to increase affordability whilst ensuring our children get the best start in life
  • Ban questions about salary history during recruitment and require salary bands to be displayed on job advertisements
  • Introduce a free standing and legally enforceable ‘Right to Know’ what a male colleague is paid for equal work

Read the full briefing here.

The gender pay gap

With a gender pay gap of 11.3%, Equal Pay Day falls on 20th November this year – this is the day in the year when, based on average pay, women overall stop being paid compared to men. The gender pay gap is closing at a glacial pace, which is all the more concerning given that women are at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis.

Figure 1. The gender pay gap over time. % mean, hourly difference in full-time wages between women and men

What causes the gender pay gap?

One key driver is pay discrimination – when women are paid less than men for the same work – which is illegal (and has been since the 1970s) under the Equality Act. Other key drivers include the failure to promote women within organisations, undervaluing and underpaying the types of work women are more likely to do – such as social care and childcare work – and a lack of women in more highly paid sectors such as tech and engineering. Recruitment practices such as salary history questions and advertising jobs without salary bands can also perpetuate pay gaps, contributing to women and people of colour carrying pay gaps around with them from job to job.

For more of Fawcett's current work on pay inequality:

Equal Pay

End Salary History

Broken Ladders: The Myth of Meritocracy for Women of Colour in the Workplace

Gender Pay Gap Reporting: A comparative analysis