A report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission at the end of December last year has found that on average, women graduates earn £8,000 pounds less than their male counterparts. These findings highlight the scale of the task still to be achieved over women’s equality in the workplace, even after 45 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force.

The commission’s report details how that female graduates are likely to receive a starting salary between £15,000 and £24,000, whilst male graduates are most likely to enter the workplace on salaries worth more than £24,000. On top of this the commission found that women make up the majority of the low paid workforce and that there are only very small numbers of women on high quality apprenticeships.

“Forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act was brought in to herald an end to gender pay inequality, our research provides clear evidence that the old economic and societal barriers are still prevalent for working women and overshadowing the prospects of our girls and young women yet to enter the workplace.” Said Laura Carstensen, Chairperson of the EHRC.

The report looks into the true nature of the gender pay gap and found that the worse disparities between male and female pay were in the legal industry, where women were often starting on £20,000 per annum, whilst men were offered starting wages of at least £28,000. The commission also found that there is an imbalance between the types of work which women and men are in, with part time work being more heavily dominated by women, with women especially over-represented on zero-hour contracts.

[su_spoiler title=”The absurdness of the graduate pay gap” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]It’s 2016, 45 years after the original Equal Pay Act was introduced, and female graduates are still earning considerably less than their male counterparts. It’s difficult to say what’s more ridiculous: the fact that we’re still talking about this, or the fact that we’re often actively discouraged from talking about this. Last October, Jennifer Lawrence was bombarded by attention from the press after speaking out against the gender pay gap in Hollywood, and has since criticised herself for not wanting to raise her wages to higher those of her male co-stars out of fear of seeming “difficult” or “spoiled”. Why should a woman, any woman, discussing an issue that affects women everywhere, cause such a stir?

Historically, women have had to fight tooth and nail for the right to an education; in many countries, and in many cultures, the battle continues, as Malala Yousafzai is living proof of. The fact that, at the end of it, women still aren’t able to reap the rewards to the same extent that men do, regardless of whether the difference between the two is less apparent than it used to be, is nothing short of absurd.

It’s time for the government to seriously address the growing gender gap.

Meg Bradbury, News writer[/su_spoiler]

Ms. Carstensen, continued: “In today’s world women should not face these kinds of injustices, especially when data shows time after time girls and women are outperforming males at every stage in education.

Whilst looking at wages the report also investigated characteristics of the workplace which directly impacted women and negatively affected their employment prospects writing that women still face issues such as pregnancy discrimination, unfair dismissal, as well as verbal harassment.

“We cannot continue to accept that a woman embarking upon her working life can expect to be paid less because of her sex,” Carstensen added.