Closing the gender pay gap

This week’s blog was contributed by Joanne Sawyer, Policy Adviser, at Age UK.  

Whilst older women are a vital force in today’s workplaces, they tend to fare poorly in the labour market.  They are more likely than men to be in lower paid, lower skilled, insecure or part time work and to have had one or more periods out of the labour market (such as to care for children or older relatives).

We are pleased that the Government is currently looking into how to support women throughout their working lives.  It is proposing to require larger employees (of which Age UK is one) to report their gender pay gap (i.e. the percentage gap between men and women’s pay within their organisation).

For women under the age of 40, there is reason to be cheerful as the gender pay gap has broadly disappeared.  But for those in their 40s and beyond, the picture is far less rosy.  Women working full time in their 40s or those aged over 60 earn nearly 14% less than men.  And women in their 50s earn 18% less than men, the highest of any working age group.

Not only is the gender pay gap significant during a women’s working life, but it affects her financial security, such as her pension, in later life.

Age UK believes that publishing gender pay gap information will help to shine a light on women’s lower pay throughout their working lives and their financial wellbeing in retirement.  However, publishing information alone will not be enough, unless the Government and employers focus on the reasons for the pay gap and how to address them. Continue reading “Closing the gender pay gap”

#nomakeupselfie: Where are the older women?

Photo: sunshine city (Creative Commons)

Social media has experienced another one of its phenomena over the past couple of weeks – the #nomakeupselfie. Thousands upon thousands of women have been posting photos of themselves on Facebook without make-up. Initially aiming to raise awareness of cancer, this movement, if it can be called that, has led to donations in their millions for the UK’s cancer charities.

It feels like this activity has reached its peak and is beginning to quieten down, with the inevitable analysis taking place about how it happened, how charities jumped on it, and whether it was truly a force for good. But there seems to be one question that no-one has yet asked in all of this: where were the older women?

Certainly, in my experience of the #nomakeupselfie, I did not see any older women. The oldest selfie that appeared on my Facebook feed was from a woman in her forties. Why was it that a campaign emerged to raise awareness of a disease that predominantly affects older people without any involvement from them? Continue reading “#nomakeupselfie: Where are the older women?”

Older women’s human rights in the UK – how are we doing?

This blog was contributed by Elizabeth Sclater, Secretary General of the Older Women’s Network, Europe

It’s just over a month since I returned from the UN in Geneva. I was accredited by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO), one of 40 people representing UK NGOs gathered for four days in July to lobby and support the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee members as they ‘examined’ the UK Government’s progress in implementing women’s human rights in the UK. As the only one with a focus on older women, it was important to ensure older age was mainstreamed in all our work, as well as highlighting the continuing and particular human rights challenges we as older women face in the UK. Continue reading “Older women’s human rights in the UK – how are we doing?”