Low Pay Trap a Double Disadvantage for Young Women

The Equality Trust has today responded to new research by the Social Mobility Commission that concludes that teenage girls who were disadvantaged were more likely than boys to take courses leading to low earning jobs.

Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:

“This report is yet more proof that inequality blights lives. Poor young women are facing employment outcomes that are more likely to trap them in poverty. As we’ve learned from the pandemic, women are paying the price with higher rates of furlough, redundancies, and caring responsibilities. 

This contributes to income inequality and low pay for women leads to pension poverty. But the repercussions stretch beyond the pay packets. As we know, in countries such as the UK, with high levels of income inequality, we also see higher levels of poor mental and physical health, drug and alcohol addiction, violent crime and imprisonment, lower levels of educational attainment, trust and social mobility.”



Notes to editors

The Social Mobility Commission report, ‘The Road not Taken: Drivers of Course Selection’, states that the post-16 choice of subjects by disadvantaged women explained about 10% of the earnings gap they face compared with more advantaged men. The report stated that half of disadvantaged young women choose post-16 technical courses that ranked in the bottom 25% of earnings for jobs. Such courses included retail, childcare and social care. For young men with similar qualifications and backgrounds, 31% selected courses leading to low-income jobs. The research was undertaken by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and CFE Research on behalf of the SCM. The report analysed course selection and earnings of people with GCSEs between 2001-2 and 2004-5.

The Equality Trust is a registered charity that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality. UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence shows that this results in poorer mental and physical health, higher violent crime, poorer educational outcomes and lower levels of trust. Inequality affects us all. For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact