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Equal Pay

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Minister for Women what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act 1970. [116569]

The Equal Pay Act 1970 has made real headway for many women and since 1975 when it came into effect the full-time pay gap has narrowed from 30 per cent. to 19 per cent. in 2002. However the "pay gap" is not just about unequal pay (covered by the Act) it is also about employment opportunities, work experience, culture and attitudes. Legislation has enabled us to make good progress, but the Government are determined to do more and are working to reduce the gender pay gap through a variety of measures which help strengthen and maintain women's attachment to the labour market, including the equal pay questionnaire, working with the EOC to promote equal pay reviews, providing trade unions with additional funding for training representatives in equal pay issues and by requiring the civil service to undertake pay reviews.