Women lose out on £140bn a year in earnings due to gender pay gap

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Women lose out on £140bn a year in earnings due to gender pay gap

YWTUK women are losing out on nearly £140 billion a year in wages due to the gender pay gap – or £9,112 each.

This year we celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People Act gave the first UK women equal voting power – but they still do not have equal spending power.

On average, men working full-time earn £39,003 a year, compared to women’s average full-time wage of £29,891. This is because male employees tend to be paid more, reach higher positions and are more likely to work in higher-paid industries. 

Collectively, the UK’s 15 million working women are missing out on £138 billion (£137,682,320,000) each year. The gap widens further when part-time work is taken into account. 

This year, to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, the Royal Mint has released a new 50 pence piece. To give an idea of how much money women are missing out on, if the Royal Mint only made new fifty pence pieces every day, it would take more than 1,048 years for it to produce enough to plug a single year’s pay gap. Placing all of these fifty pence pieces side by side would reach the moon and back ten times.

 Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“We may have an equal vote but women are still fighting for equal pay. Young women are more likely to be on low pay and many are resorting to food banks or falling into debt. 

“We need urgent action to close the pay gap. Let’s not just make new coins; let’s look at who they’re going to – because they certainly won’t be going to women! 

“Real equality means supporting women into better-paid, male-dominated sectors like engineering and construction and tackling low pay in women-dominated sectors. Helping parents share childcare more equally and supporting women back into the workforce after taking time out through flexible working opportunities would help, too.

“Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of unequal pay.” 

Official statistics show that the pay gap varies region by region, with women in some regions facing greater equalities than women in others.

YWTYoung Women’s Trust is campaigning to close the gender pay gap. Doing so would benefit businesses and the economy, as well as women. 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. Earnings data is taken from the October 2017 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ONS). This shows that men’s annual (mean, full-time) pay is £39,003 and women’s is £29,891. The difference between those two figures is £9,112 – the amount each woman loses out on each year.
  3. That figure multiplied by the number of women in work (15,110,000, according to ONS employment figures from December 2017) is: £137,682,320,000 (nearly £138bn).
  4. A fifty pence piece is 2.75cm long, according to the Royal Mint.
  5. 275,364,640,000 fifty pence pieces make up the amount of money women are missing out on.
  6. 2.75cm multiplied by 275,364,640,000 is 757,252,760,000cm – or 7,572,527,600m. The distance to the moon is 384,400,000m.
  7. The combined distance that the coins, put side by side, would be (7,572,527,600m), divided by the distance to the moon (384,400,000m) is 19.7. This means that the coins would stretch to the moon and back nearly ten times.
  8. The Royal Mint can make 720,000 coins a day. It would therefore take 1,048 years to make enough 50p coins to pay women the annual amount they are owed due to the gender pay gap.
  9. For more information, please contact Bex Bailey at bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or on 07963018281.