20 JUNE 2019

  • 42,000 missing women from Sheffield City Region economy
  • Pay gap means Sheffield women earn over £10k per year less than men

New data published today by the Fawcett Society and the Women’s Budget Group reveals that there are 42,600 fewer women than men employed across the Sheffield City Region, a gender employment gap of nine percentage points. There is also an overall gender pay gap of 14% across the Sheffield City Region. Women in full and part time work in the region earn on average £10,781 less than men annually.

Additional key findings include:

  • The employment gap is worse for BAME women. Five in ten ethnic minority women in the region are in employment, compared to seven in ten white women
  • 60% of unpaid carers for adults are women - there are 31,912 more women than men providing unpaid care for another adult
  • Three quarters of women who are unpaid carers are aged 25-64, indicating that women are more likely than men to be combining paid work and caring roles
  • 84% of the 32,900-strong Sheffield City Region social care workforce are women – and one fifth of that workforce are on zero-hours contracts.

Despite these disappointing findings, the report suggests that an investment in universal childcare would make a huge difference to the Sheffield City Region’s employment rates creating up to 55,000 new jobs, at the same as reducing the gender employment rate gap from nine to four percentage points.

Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, said:

“This report shows that women are invisible to policy makers in Sheffield. That needs to change. Women’s skills across the Sheffield City Region are being wasted because of a lack of good quality part-time and flexible work and childcare support.  The gender pay gap means that they are earning over £10k per year less than men.  Unless the Sheffield City Region employment strategy delivers for women, it will fail.”

The report also highlights the violence faced by residents in the region. 130 violent or sexual offences are reported to South Yorkshire police every day, an issue which women are more likely to experience. 

These findings show that unless policymakers collect data on gender that informs key areas for policy reform to improve the lives of women, they will struggle to tackle gender inequality and close these gaps.

The problem is compounded by the persistent under-representation of women in public life. Although 44% of council leaders in the Sheffield City Region are women, only 35% of the Mayors, Council Leaders, Chairs, and Board Members who hold decision-making powers for the region are women.

This data report represents a first look at data on key public services in the Sheffield City Region. It has been published in partnership with the Women’s Budget Group and supported by Unite the Union. This report sits alongside Fawcett’s ‘Making Devolution Work for Women’ project, which for the last two years has worked in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands to advance a gendered approach to public policy within devolution.

The report calls for the Sheffield City Region Mayor and Combined Authority to:

  • Ensure women’s voices are heard throughout the city region
  • Collect gender disaggregated data and publish equality impact assessments of key policies and decisions
  • Develop a gender equality strategy which addresses the employment and gender pay gaps.

Sara Reis, from the Women’s Budget Group said:

Social and child care services are not meeting the needs of adults, children and parents in Sheffield. We have a huge care crisis in this country fuelled by cuts to local public services, with women picking up the slack through unpaid work.

“Childcare is unaffordable in Yorkshire, with costs for a child under three absorbing half of women's salaries. We call on the Combined Authority to work together with Westminster to secure the powers needed to invest properly in child care for the economy to flourish and for women to retain their economic independence.”

Sue Pollard, UNITE Regional Women and Equalities Officer with Industrial Responsibility North East, Yorkshire and the Humber said:

“This report shows that women across our region are facing real difficulties – from being forced to rely on foodbanks to suffering period poverty. Women bear the brunt of caring roles, which negatively affects their earning power. This needs to change.

“It is essential that we see more women in decision making roles to ensure the needs of all those who live our region are met. The gendered impact of policy decisions must be fully understood so that inequalities in the Sheffield City Region can be tackled to improve living standards for those who suffer the most.”

Download the full press release here

Devolution represents an opportunity to do things differently - but we need to make women's voices heard for it to work. HELP US ACHIEVE CHANGE TODAY. TAKE PART IN OUR LOCAL AND EQUAL CAMPAIGN.