The UK government will fail to meet its goal of eliminating the gender pay gap in a generation, if it continues to ignore evidence put before it – a cross-party committee of MPs said on Tuesday (20 February).
The Women and Equalities Committee, chaired by Conservative MP Maria Miller, issued the warning after ministers responded to the group's 2016 report into tackling the gender pay gap, which sees women earn 80p for every £1m a man makes.
The committee has said the government has ignored it recommendations, including addressing the part-time pay penalty and flexible working and supporting parents to share childcare equally.
"The government says there is no place for a gender pay gap in modern Britain and has restated its pledge to end the pay gap within a generation," Miller said.
"But without effectively tackling the key issues of flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities, and supporting women aged over 40 back into the workforce, the gender pay gap will not be eliminated".
"We made practical, evidence-based recommendations to address these issues".
"They were widely supported by a range of stakeholders including businesses, academics, and unions. It is deeply disappointing that our recommendations have not been taken on board by government."
But a government spokesperson stressed that Theresa May's administration is committed to tackling the gender pay gap.
"We now have the lowest gender pay gap on record, around 60,000 people a year are taking advantage of flexible working arrangements and the introduction of Shared Parental Leave gives parents extra flexibility and we will continue to evaluate this as it beds in," the spokesperson added.
"We're also supporting women over 40 in the workplace through the National Careers Service."
"But we know there's more to do. That's why we are requiring employers to publish their gender pay and gender bonus gap for the first time from April and we are giving working parents of three- and four-year olds up to 30 hours of free childcare from September."
But Sarah Champion, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, said: "This Government continues to ignore the voices and lived experiences of thousands of women in chronically low paid, under-valued sectors of the economy such as care, hospitality and retail.
"Industries where zero hour contracts and bad practice have been allowed to run rife.
"The structural causes of the gender pay gap must be addressed, otherwise women will simply continue to be left behind."