Women's Low Pay At Root Of Child Poverty
June 23 2008 - Research from the TUC, the End Child Poverty coalition and the Fawcett Society has concluded that women's low pay is not just a cause of poverty, but also has major consequences on their children's living standards.
The TUC briefing - 'The Iron Triangle - notes that the UK The Government is committed to halving child poverty by 2010 but explains that child poverty is inextricably linked to their mothers' poverty. 1.4 million (over a half of those children classified as poor) are being brought up in households with one or more working adults.
Working mothers are more likely than fathers to be in low paid jobs. According to the TUC, 30% of employed women earn less than £100 a week compared to 14% of men. In the UK, the gap between male and female workers is 17.2% with men averaging £14.98 an hour while women average £12.40.
Part-time female workers fare even worse. Three-quarters of the part-time workforce is female, averaging £9.65 an hour - 35.6% less than male part-timers.
The briefing identifies another significant link between low pay, women's poverty and child poverty - employment discrimination. British mothers are far more likely to be poor than their equivalents in mainland Europe with thousands losing their jobs during pregnancy and even greater numbers facing disadvantage and reduced opportunities at work.
Additionally, mothers can become trapped in part-time, low-paid and low status jobs and areas where they have fewer employment rights and job insecurity such as temping or or homeworking.
According to TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber:
"The TUC's Commission on Vulnerable Employment recently found that some of the country's most vulnerable workers are women - and having a child puts a woman at an even greater risk of being poor.
"As 40 per cent of households are now headed by single mothers, this has concerning implications for tackling child poverty.
"The Government has promised to end child poverty by 2020. But the number of children in poverty has risen over the last two years. It's vital the Government tackles low pay and takes action to stop discrimination against mothers now.