Women earning 30 per cent less than men in parts of Fylde Coast

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Women across the Fylde coast still trail behind men when it comes to equal pay, with females in some areas being paid a shocking 30% less than their male counterparts.

The median hourly pay for women in Blackpool was £8.77 last year according to official government figures – the lowest in Lancashire.

And new figures released by the Equality and Human Rights Commission show women working full and part-time in the resort earn 12.1 per cent less than men overall.

This difference increases to 22.6 per cent when comparing the wages of part-time female workers with full-time male ones.

Sarah Southworth, managing director of specialist cleaning firm SCS Facilities Services, which operates on the Fylde coast, said of the latest findings: “It doesn’t surprise me at all.

“Women are still undervalued in the workplace and have to fight that bit harder to get the recognition that they deserve which can often come a lot easier for male colleagues.”

Women are still undervalued in the workplace and have to fight that bit harder to get the recognition that they deserve which can often come a lot easier for male colleagues.

Meanwhile, Fylde has the largest pay gap in Lancashire at 30 per cent.

Nationally, women earn 18.1 per cent less than men according the study. Figures for Wyre were not available.

The figures have prompted female business owners from Blackpool’s Pink Link Ladies - a group for female entrepreneurs - to speak out in support of their fellow women.

Beverley Wood, creative director of interior design company BWD Limited in St Annes, said: “The inequality between men and women’s pay appears to have gone unchecked for decades and it’s refreshing to see that the government have introduced new requirements for all private and voluntary sector businesses, with over 250 employees, to report the differences in pay between their male and female staff.

“By April 2018 results must be published, shown on the company website and signed to confirm their accuracy and remain on the website for three years.

“It’s a good start and let’s hope that the regulations are applied to SMEs in the future.

“I employ men and women in my commercial interior design business and their pay scale is determined by skills and ability, not gender.”

Rachel Ratcliffe, owner of Rachel’s Yummy Scrummy Cakes in Poulton, said: “Unfortunately these results are not a surprise, though a disappointment. Women work just as hard and successfully as men, and have done for decades, yet the gender pay gap still hasn’t caught up.”

Kim Heubner, of PSG Blackpool and Preston, a firm providing property conveyancing reports, said despite the gender pay gap women continue to make a valuable contribution to the economy, as female employment has risen over the past 40 years.

Figures released by The Poverty Site in 2011 revealed the proportion of unemployed women aged 16 to 64 had fallen from 47 per cent to 35 per cent since 1971.

By contrast, 25 per cent of men aged 16 to 64 were unemployed in 2011, compared to just nine per cent in 1971.

Ms Heubner said: “Personally, while I am 100 per cent behind women receiving equal wages to men, I think the bigger picture is far more positive in one way and worrying in another.

“The aim of strong economic growth in a population is to get as many people working as possible.”

The North West is home to one of the lowest gender pay gaps, 17.3 per cent, with only Outer London coming closer to bridging the divide, which stands at 14.3 per cent.

Caroline Waters, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “For the vast majority of women the gender pay gap is still much higher than we realise.

“We must not be complacent and continue to ignore its true scale, but seek to understand the complex reasons underlying the deep chasms of inequality apparent across the country.

“Women are a vital part of all workforces. We must make sure any proposals to tackle the gender pay gap are strong enough to deliver the change everyone wants to see in every corner of Britain.

“Employers need the best talent and men and women must be able to make the most of opportunities open to them.”