The gap between what women and men get paid in Bolton is less than half the national average but there are concerns "there is still not enough being done".

Office for National Statistics figures show women in the borough were earning an average of £14.56 per hour as of April, while men were paid £15.10 – a gap of 3.6 per cent.

The average pay gap in the country stood at 8.2 per cent this year, with male workers making £18.14 per hour, while female workers earned £16.65.

The figures are based on full-time workers’ median wages and exclude overtime pay.

In Bolton, men’s wages saw an annual growth of 8.3 per cent, while women earned 2.9 per cent more than they did a year ago.

The figures also revealed women earned more than men last year, when the pay gap stood at 1.5 per cent in their favour.

Women in the South East of England suffered the greatest inequality, with a pay difference of 12.9 per cent, while Scotland reported the narrowest gap – 1.7 per cent.

In the North West the gender pay gap stood at 7.8 per cent.

Sarah Hulme, founder, director, and CEO at a Bolton women's business group, Ladies Empowerment Circle, said pay needs to be more "open and streamlined".

She said: “I had a conversation with a business owner on Thursday who left the corporate employee world to become self-employed because she felt unheard of and due to the pay gap between herself and her male counterparts.

“I speak to a lot of ladies in my group that all say that the gender pay gap is talked about more but feel in reality there is still not enough being done.

“Pay needs to be more open and streamlined like the NHS agenda for change pay scale for example, which looks at everyone’s skills, effort, and experience whether we’re male or female.

“I feel there’s still too much secrecy in the work place around salaries and all employers should be more transparent on their pay structure.”

Rebecca Florisson, principal analyst at the Work Foundation at Lancaster University, said: “Although the gender pay gap has narrowed over time, it remains substantial.

“We know that women are nearly twice as likely as men to be in insecure and low-paid work, and the picture is even worse for mothers.

She added: “We must ensure fewer women feel the need to trade job security against flexibility. That means boosting the provision of affordable care and childcare options and embedding flexibility across a much greater proportion of secure and well-paid jobs.”

A spokesperson for the government’s Equality Hub said: “The gender pay gap has been trending downwards since 1997, and the government continues to take significant action to ensure women can reach their full potential at work.

“We are starting a childcare revolution with an increase to 30 hours free childcare from nine months to school age, £100m in capital funding to help nurseries expand, and £289 million for the wraparound care across the country.

“Millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one, and our STEM returners programme is getting carers back into the workplace.”

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