A report issued by the TUC based on official analysis shows that the gender pay gap is at its widest when women get to their 50s.
The gap, hits £8,421 a year, as the longer-term impacts of getting stuck in lower paid work with few promotion prospects are felt and with the additional caring responsibilities – including for older relatives – only excerbates the situation.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women suffer a huge pay penalty over the course of their lives, starting as soon as they set foot on the career ladder.
“Having children and caring responsibilities has a massive impact on a woman’s earnings. Far more needs to be done to help mums get back into decent, well-paid jobs after they have kids – and to encourage dads to take on their share of caring responsibilities.
“And we are crying out for higher wages in jobs predominantly done by women, like childcare and social care. Until we do, women will continue to lose out financially and many will have to make the choice between have a family or a career.
“Workplaces where unions are recognised are more likely to have family-friendly policies. So a good first step for women worried about their pay is to join a union.”
The deadline for gender pay reporting is Friday 30 March 2018 in the public sector and Wednesday 4 April 2018 in the private sector.