'It's a disgrace' – Ipswich and Mid Suffolk women typically earn £3 less an hour
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant/Canva
Ipswich and Mid Suffolk women are, on average, earning £3 less an hour than men, figures have revealed.
The gender pay gap, the difference between what women and men earn, fell a quarter over the last decade before the pandemic - but widened slightly across England due to furlough, the ONS has said.
In Ipswich, men earned on average £15.28 an hour in 2021, while women make £12.28 an hour, a gap of £3.
Over the same period, women in Babergh earn £2.80 less than men, £2.50 less in East Suffolk, £3.33 less in Mid Suffolk and £2.53 less in West Suffolk.
In Colchester, it was £2.88 less per hour and in Tendring £2.19 less per hour.
Suffolk County Council Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group’s spokesperson for women Caroline Page called the situation a "disgrace".
She added that the Gender Pay Gap needs to close now and compared the issue to inaction on climate change.
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"If you've decided to stop drinking by 2050 but do not say how you are going to do that today," she said, "how do you know its going to happen?
"We have a frivolous belief in a crunch time future."
Audrey Ludwig, director of legal services at Suffolk Law Centre, said she does not see many Equal Pay Act cases as unions are often the ones to bring big cases to court.
She said: "The issue with equal pay has not gone away. Most women are not aware they are paid less than colleagues."
She added that a lot of what women experience is the type of work they do not being as valued as men.
"Carers are paid less than working in a supermarket [warehouse] is equally shocking," she said. "This is more to do with our societal understanding of the work done by women."
Women's rights campaigner, Sam Murray, agreed, saying: "Women do not go into a room knowing our worth and see about asking for a pay rise and promotion and a result many tend to get less.
"As soon as it clicks with women that we are the change, we will see the gender pay gap change."
Ms Murray added that she was "reassured" that women are being paid on parity with men in management roles.
"We are getting there," she said. She is also a Conservative Suffolk county and Ipswich borough councillor.