Press Releases and Research

The gender pay gap has increased- but this is not really a gender pay gap, it’s a procreation gap

Press Release 26th October 2021: The latest ONS research shows that among all employees the gender pay gap in the last year has increased from 14.9% to 15.4% with the widest gap of 16.1 % being between high earners.

The ONS has released their Employee earnings in the UK: 2021 report.
The research has shown the gap has increased for all employees to 15.4% and that the widest gap is between the highest earners at 16.1%. Although this is lower than the gap in 2019, the COVID19 pandemic has highlighted how issues of discrimination, flexible working and childcare have affected the earning potential of mothers.

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said:

“The latest report from the ONS shows that the gender pay gap currently stands at 15.4%, an increase of 0.5% from 2020, but a decrease from 2019.

We cannot pretend to be shocked that this gap has increased when we currently have the third most expensive childcare system in the world and the cost of childcare continues to increase, whilst the availability of quality childcare is decreasing. At Pregnant Then Screwed we are also seeing that the number of flexible working requests being rejected has significantly increased in the past year. Additionally, our free legal advice line has received three times the number of calls since the start of the pandemic with pregnant women and mothers being pushed out or sidelined.

It is worth noting that this is not really a gender pay gap but a procreation pay gap with the pay differential between mothers and childless women being more than that between men and women without children. We know that mothers are disproportionately the ones affected here; perfectly demonstrated by the significant gender pay gap for those over 40 years of age. Research by the International Labour Office found that in the UK, the pay gap between mothers with two children and non-mothers is 25% across their lifetime, and the IFS found that by the time a woman’s first child is 12 years old, her hourly pay rate is 33 per cent behind a man’s.

Whilst reporting of this issue is great for raising awareness, it doesn’t really mean anything unless there is enforcement introduced so that employers who do not take steps to address their gender pay gap are held to account.’’

To reduce the gender pay gap, Pregnant Then Screwed are calling for:
1) An independent review of our childcare sector as we believe it is pricing women out of the labour market or forcing them to work fewer hours.
2) An advertising duty so that employers must detail flexible working options in job adverts, unless they have a good business reason for not doing so
3) Ring-fenced properly paid paternity leave of at least 3 months
4) An extension to the time limit to raise a tribunal claim in cases of discrimination from 3 months to at least 6 months
5) Enhanced protection from redundancy for those who are pregnant and those who are returning from maternity leave

In sum, are the findings below:
• Among full time employees the gender pay gap in April 2021 was 7.9%, continuing the downward trend; this was 7.0% in April 2020 and 9.0% in April 2019
• the gap among full-time employees was 7.9%, up from 7.0% in 2020
• In gender pay gap terms the difference in pay among high earners is 16.1% for full-time employees. This is much higher than the gap among median earners (7.9%) and the bottom 10% of earners (3.1%)
• The gender pay gap for full time employees aged forty years and over is 12.3%. The mean gender pay gap for all employees aged between 40 – 49 years old is 18.6%.
• The mean gender pay gap for all employees is positive for those aged 18 – 29 years old.


For further press information or case studies from Pregnant Then Screwed please contact: [email protected]

Notes to Editor:

About Pregnant Then Screwed ( is a charity which protects, supports and promotes the rights of mothers who suffer the effects of systemic, cultural, and institutional discrimination through our various schemes and activities, including: A free legal advice service, a mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer, lobbying and campaigning for legislative change and creating experiences for mothers which help them rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them.


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