§ Mr. Graham
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the disparity of wages between men and women; and what plans the Government have to address this disparity.
§ Mr. Nicholls
This disparity is due to a range of factors including differences in educational qualifications arid skills, occupational levels, occupational choices and work experience. Take home pay is also affected by women doing more part-time work and less overtime than men. Equal pay legislation has helped considerably to reduce any disparity based on sex discrimination and the Government are firmly committed to eliminating unjustifiable discrimination in pay. The Equal Pay Act 1970 (as amended) provides a real avenue of redress for any woman who thinks she is being denied equal pay because of her sex.
Moreover, the increasing number of women entering higher paid jobs in "non-traditional" areas of employment will work its way through and further reduce the difference. The Government both welcome and encourage this.