Pakistani women in UK paid least compared to men, Irish women the most - study

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Britain are paid the least compared to men while white Irish women have overtaken male peers in terms of salaries, according to a study of the gender pay gap by ethnicity on Monday.

The study released by women’s rights group Fawcett Society found women from almost every minority ethnic group experienced a pay gap with white British men.

Research by the University of Manchester found Pakistani and Bangladeshi women hardest hit, earning 26 percent less than white British male peers, while black African women had made little progress since the 1990s and earned 20 percent less.

Figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show on average women earned about 18 percent less than men in Britain in 2016.

The women who had seen the most progress since the 1990s were white Irish women who are now paid 17.5 percent more than white Irish and British men.

“But this is largely due to generational factors as they are more likely to be older, working full-time or in senior or managerial roles,” Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said in a statement.

Chinese women have also have managed to reverse the pay gap in the past 20 years and are now earning 5 percent more than white British men when working full-time. But they still earn less than Chinese men.

Indian women have seen the gender pay gap with white British men narrow to about 6 percent from 26 percent in the 1990s for those working full-time.

Smethers said the charity’s breakdown of the gender pay gap by ethnicity - released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 - tracked progress over a 25 year period with largely negative results but some positive.

Smethers said black African women have been largely left behind in terms of closing the pay gap and Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are today “only where white British women were in the 1990s”.

“For these groups this is a story of low labor market participation and low pay when they are in work together with high levels of unpaid caring work,” Smethers said.

“But it is important to consider how that gender inequality is experienced by different ethnic groups to ensure that all women in Britain see their gender pay gap closed.”