Failure to tackle pay inequality is a failure of policy and political will
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Women and Older People, Newry Armagh MLA Pat O'Rawe has said that the publication of new data on pay inequalities by the Department of Social Development (Individual Incomes Series, NI 2003/04), that show that women only receive 65% of the income of men in the Six Counties is an indictment on the failure of policy and political will deliver pay equality.
Ms O'Rawe said:
"It is a indictment that in the 21st century women's income is only 65% of men's. The situation has not improved because of a failure of policy and political will to deliver pay equality.
"The only growth in jobs has been in the part-time, low wage female service sector. This means that pay inequalities may get worse unless there is a concerted political effort to take action to address the issue. This will require a totally new approach to equality and pay inequality.
"We need to make a choice - is pay inequality wrong and does it make the risk of poverty greater. The answer to both these questions is yes. What we now need to do is analyse why this pay differential exists and bring forward a strategic plan of action to address and eliminate the differential.
"It is also clear that income levels in the north for both men and women are very low in comparison with the rest of Ireland and Britain. The cost of living is also high here, as are energy cost, yet British direct rule ministers are determined to force through water charges and huge rates increases that will only increase the threat of poverty." ENDS