Gender pay gap hits women even before they have children


Women earn less than men and their wages grow more slowly even among the youngest cohort of workers, putting paid to the idea that having children is solely to blame for harming women’s career progression.

Across the UK, women earn on average 9.8pc less than men per hour worked. Much of this difference is often ascribed to career choices after the birth of children.

But the latest Office for National Statistics data show that even the youngest workers aged between 16 and 29 earn different amounts, before many have children. The average first-time mother in England and Wales was 28 years and 10 months old in 2016, with men waiting until they are 33 and four months before having a baby.

Men in…

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