Poor showing, old chap

A new report shows British women are still woefully underpaid.

Published November 10, 2005 4:57PM (EST)

While the rest of world is worrying about padding women's bras, the British need to focus on padding their salaries. According to a report released today in the Guardian, on average, Britain's women still earn 17.2 percent less than their male colleagues -- despite the fact that it has been over 30 years since the U.K. introduced anti-sex-discrimination legislation. How abysmal is the country's progress? The Fawcett Society, a British group that campaigns for women's rights, told the Guardian that "if the gap continued to narrow at [that] rate it would take 80 years for women to achieve equal pay."

In response, Britain's Equal Opportunities Commission deemed the news "grim," acknowledged the inadequacy of current laws and called on employers to implement proactive new measures to promote fair pay at the company level. "Unless radical new action is taken," Jenny Watson, the EOC's acting chairwoman, told the Guardian, "another generation of women can expect to suffer the injustice of unequal pay."

Perhaps the saddest bit of info in the article is that the new numbers are in fact an improvement over last year, when British men took home 17.8 percent more than their wives, daughters, sisters and girlfriends.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Sarah Karnasiewicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Until recently, she was senior editor at Saveur magazine; prior to that she was deputy Life editor at Salon. She has contributed to the New York Times, the New York Observer and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For more of her work, visit thefastertimes.com/streetfood and Signs and Wonders.

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