Gender pay gap means Portsmouth women earn thousands of pounds less than men each year

What creates Portsmouth's gender pay gap? Picture: Shutterstock
What creates Portsmouth's gender pay gap? Picture: Shutterstock
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WOMEN working in Portsmouth are being paid thousands of pounds less than men every year.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show a gender pay gap in the city, with women earning a yearly average of £4,994.60 less than men.

The full-time average annual pay for women is also lower than the national average of £26,520.

In Portsmouth, men are earning an average of £28,646.80 per year while women are earning around £23,652.20.

It comes as the Fawcett Society’s chief executive Sam Methers described work to close the pay gap as ‘dismally slow’.

READ MORE: Gender pay gap: how Portsmouth’s biggest companies rank

Across the Solent region, the area with the largest gender pay gap was in Fareham, with a difference of £10,946 per year – although women earn more there than in other towns, with an average annual salary of £28,173.60.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward, said: ‘You should have equal pay for each job, so it’s probably a mix of men having higher-paying jobs and more women being in lower-paid employment.

‘There’s historic evidence of a glass ceiling for women, but many have been able to smash through that, and I think Fareham’s gross pay being higher indicates that jobs here are better paid than in places like Portsmouth or Gosport.’

According to the 2018/19 statistics, the region with the lowest pay gap between genders is Havant, with a difference of £4,903.60 – though the area also has a higher percentage of lower-skilled jobs (32.4 per cent of all employment).

READ MORE: Gender pay gap ‘is meaningless’ says Portsmouth councillor after it is revealed some women earn more than male colleagues 

Dr Emily Yarrow, a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Business and Law, says Portsmouth businesses need to be more aware of unintentionally widening the pay margins between men and women.

She said: ‘For starters, its women who typically look after children or elderly family members; with the elderly, even if they go into a residential care home – and there are quite a few in the city – the staff there are mainly women in low-paid jobs.’

Dr Yarrow said: ‘There is still a unconscious bias in some firms because men have always held the top jobs.

‘This is a structural issue in society but with coastal income being lower than it is further inland, it affects women around here much more.

‘It’s about Portsmouth companies being honest and transparent, as well as providing things like free childcare, which keeps women in employment and breaks down the barriers of career progression.’