Figures show that the gender pay gap has dramatically narrowed, leaving young women marginally ahead of their male counterparts for the first time.
Female workers aged between 22 and 29 earn just over £10 per hour on average, while men in the same age bracket are paid just under £10, the study found.
Given that young women, on average, now have more education, are educated to a higher level and have better grades in their education than young men this really isn’t all that much of a surprise.
However, the really important thing is that the average age of prima gravidae has moved to just shy of 30. Thus all those things like maternity leave, career breaks, couple of years out of the labour force, deliberate choices about working hours and family life, these are extant only as echoes backwards in time.
“The gender pay gap may take another generation to close as the pay feeds through to the more senior workforce,” she said.
But that, I’m afraid, I don’t think is going to happen. For we’ve not actually got a gender pay gap. We’ve got a motherhood pay gap. And as long as it’s mothers that do the bulk of the child rearing (which I pretty much assume is going to remain the case. We are mammals after all) then that gap is going to remain.
I can see the pay gap disappearing for those who don’t take the time out: it’s already gone in fact, single never married women make a fraction more than men in the same age cohorts. I can see it shrinking to almost nothing for those who take only the time out for the stitches to heal. But I can’t actually see it disappearing altogether, on average across the population, while men and women with children continue to make different decisions (on average, of course) about who works flat out in the market and who works a bit in the market and bit/lot at home.
And I just don’t expect that difference in choices to disappear. For as I say, we are indeed mammals.