Infuriating new research on the gender rent gap shows how important it is to highlight Equal Pay Day.
As of today (14 November), women are effectively working for free for the rest of the year. The gender pay gap means that men are still being paid 13.1% more than women. A recent government report found that eight in 10 UK firms pay male employees more, on average, than female employees. And this gap isn’t predicted to close until 2073 (that’s only for white women).
As part of their election campaign, Labour has promised to close the gender pay gap by 2030. And the Liberal Democrats has pledged to oblige bigger companies to publish data on employment levels by gender, as well as for BAME and LGBT staff.
Their promises come on Equal Pay Day, which highlights the fact that many of us are now working for free. And another study about the effects of the gender pay gap has given us another reason to mark the day.
Research by SpareRoom has revealed that the gender pay gap has created a knock-on gender rent gap, with millennial women spending a higher proportion of their salary on rent than men.
The study surveyed 6,000 millennial flatsharers under 35, and found that one in four (27%) females are spending more than half of their salary on rent, compared to just 17% of males.
One in three (36%) millennial women don’t consider their rent to be affordable, compared to 30% of men. What’s more, over half (56%) of men said they’d be able to afford to rent on their own if they chose to, compared to just 39% of women.
You probably don’t need us to remind you that we are smack bang in the middle of a housing crisis, which makes this research even more frustrating.
More figures from the same report show the barriers to female homeownership are the same.
Almost half (47%) of millennial women admit they’d only be able to afford a deposit if they teamed up with a partner, compared to just one third (37%) of men. Among those who don’t expect to buy, 60% of millennial women said it’s because they don’t earn enough to get a mortgage, compared to 51% of men.
Additional findings from the research reveal how just one in four millennial females (26%) have an annual pre-tax income of over £30,000, compared to 34% of male flatsharers.
“This research shows just how far the consequences of the gender pay gap extend,” said SpareRoom spokesperson Miriam Tierney.
“It’s not just about how much you earn, it’s about how that affects the fundamental things in life. In simple terms, it’s relatively more expensive to rent in the UK if you’re female. That means the one thing at the heart of all our lives, having a secure, affordable home, is harder for some people, simply because of their gender.”
So, what can we actually do to properly address the gender pay gap once and for all?
You can write to your MP and sign the #RightToKnow petition, which is calling for women to have the legal right to know if they are being paid less than a male colleague for doing equal work.