Women earn £8,500 a year less than men by age 50

TUC lays bare 'motherhood pay penalty' on women's income


Women earn £8,500 a year less than men by age 50, finds TUC analysis out today, with the gender pay gap costing women tens of thousands in lost income.

Official data shows women start earning less than men as soon as they enter the workforce, rising to £85,000 less on average through a woman’s 50s.

The TUC says this is caused by a motherhood ‘pay penalty’, with the pay gap between working mothers and fathers age 42 a huge 30 per cent greater than men and women without children.

“Women suffer a huge pay penalty over the course of their careers, which peaks in their 50s,” said TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Far more needs to be done to help mums get back into decent, well-paid jobs after they have kids – and to encourage dads to take on their share of caring responsibilities.”

A woman aged 18 earns £1,395 less on average each year than her male peers. This rises to £1,944 in her 20s and £3,034 in her 30s, meaning she loses £30,340 over the next decade.


By age 40, the gender pay gap doubles from £3,034 to £7,234, or £72,340 loss over the decade of her 40s. Women in their 40s earn £8,504 less on average than men each year, amounting to £85,040 lost over that decade.



The TUC made five recommendations on how to tackle this gap. These were:

  • Support equal parenting, with better paid leave for fathers
  • Better work flexibility and support when women become mothers
  • Control excessive hours for full-time jobs
  • Training and promotions for working mothers
  • and better pay gap reporting once it begins in 2018, with an action plan now on how to cut the gap, and sanctions for bosses who won’t publish their data.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Lloyds is sacking another 1,200 workers – while CEO takes £11 million a year


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3 Responses to “Women earn £8,500 a year less than men by age 50”

  1. CR

    What must be taken into account is the fact that many women take time out to have children and many decide to take further time off to look after them. That must impact the amount they can earn at the age of 50. This is not a ‘penalty’. It is a lifestyle decision made by couples when they decide to have children.

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  3. Mike Stallard

    Well of course men and women earn different pay rates at 50! Men go on working through pregnancy, through childbirth and through breast feeding. Women – now mothers – have totally different priorities, thank heavens! A baby or a toddler has only one Mum in the world. Dads just do not cut the mustard.
    Equal parenting is OK in theory – but then biology kicks in.
    That is why men get promotion and women quite often do not. Men on the whole are the breadwinners: women are the homebuilders.
    Our big problem is not valuing mothers and homebuilders: their role in society is vital. Women are in no way second rate men. And, conversely, men are in no way second rate women. Yes there are a few childless women and gay men and so on. But, to my surprise the difference between Mums and Dads holds even in the most left wing households.

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