A lack of childcare support is stopping women from pay rises and promotions

Written by Amy Beecham

Working women aresuffering from a growing gender pay gap as the result of a lack of affordable child care. 

Earlier this week, another new report confirmed what so many of us have long known: that in 2023,women are being priced out of work and suffering from a growing gender pay gap as the result of a lack of affordable childcare.

In the UK, the average annual cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two is now a whopping £14,836, with costs having risen by 5.9% in the past year while the availability of places has also dropped. And it’s forcing thousands of people each year to quit the job market.

What’s more, in a separate landmark survey of more than 4000 women, the British Chambers of Commerce found that as many as 67% felt childcare duties in the past decade had cost them progress at work – including pay rises, promotions, or career development. Almost 90% believed that additional support was needed in order to help women thrive in the workplace. 

Indeed, the Trades Union Congress has calculated that almost 1.5 million women are kept out of the labour market because of their caring responsibilities, compared with 230,000 men, making them seven times as likely to stand outside the workforce.

Even at other life stages, women seem to be drawing the short straw. The BCC study, released to coincide with International Women’s Day, also found that three-quarters of women said there was not sufficient support for those going through menopause.

Ahead of the spring budget next week, there is growing pressure on the government to boost support for parents, however, it’s thought unlikely that chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce any major new funding for childcare.

“Tackling these issues is integral not only to the wellbeing of our women and workplaces, it is crucial to the functioning of any strong economy,” said Shevaun Haviland, the BCC’s director general, while calling for urgent action from the government and employers to break down barriers and ensure women have the same opportunities as men.

Images: Getty

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