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How long must women wait for equal pay?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 February 2021

Bożena Wielgoszewska, Alex Bryson, Francesca Foliano, Heather Joshi, and David Wilkinson.

You might expect slow and steady progress in narrowing the gap between men’s and women’s earnings – but history has less straightforward lessons.

Findings from our gender wage gap project show that the differences between men’s and women’s earnings have decreased, but the progress has slowed in recent years. Dramatic change only took place with major events, such as war or a big policy initiative. Later cohorts face better conditions, but the gap is still large and, at our estimated rate of convergence, it will not close for another 40 years.

The covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted labour market inequalities and raised questions about the future progression towards gender equality. Some expect that more widespread flexible working and normalisation of working from home will lead to greater equality. But others argue that progress will be reversed for women, jeopardised by taking a bigger share of housework and childcare during lockdown.

Our analysis focused on two British birth cohorts, one born in 1958 (tracked up to age 55), and one born in 1970 (more…)