Trends in Gender Equality in the UK, 1968 to 2012: Four Barriers to ‘Equal Pay’ for Women

Jacob Tattam, John Simister


This paper disaggregates the pay gap between men and women into four possible ‘barriers’: access to paid work; part-time versus full-time jobs; entrance into higher-paid jobs; and similar pay for equivalent work. UK data from 1968 to 2012 are analyzed, to investigate these possible barriers. All four barriers have persisted for decades, and all four ‘barriers’ tend to work in favour of men. There is evidence of progress in gender equality since 1968 – for example, the 1970 ‘Equal Pay Act’ and 1975 ‘Sex Discrimination Act’ seem to have reduced inequality; but some forms of discrimination seem immune to attempted equality legislation and change.


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