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The National Education Union is marking International Women’s Day and the TUC's Women's Pay Day by challenging the Government to take action to make teaching a genuinely equal profession for women teachers.

Teaching is a predominantly female profession, yet women teachers suffer from the gender pay gap in addition to the burdens of unpaid overtime and the public sector pay cap.

The gender pay gap in teaching exists despite legislation to protect women from unlawful discrimination:

  • The average pay for all women teachers is £2,900 less than for their male counterparts (£37,700 compared to £40,660).[1]
  • The pay gap is, however, far wider for teachers in leadership positions. On average, women head teachers earn £5,700 less than their male counterparts [2].
  • The gender pay gap among leadership teachers also varies according to age group. On average, women head teachers aged under 40 earn £5,400 less than their male counterparts, those in their 40s earn £7,700 less, those in their 50s earn £11,300 less and those aged 60 or over earn £13,500 less; this represents a 16% pay gap. [3]
  • A third of teachers absent for all or part of the 2016-17 school year due to pregnancy or maternity who were eligible for progression and knew their outcome, had been denied it. More than half (61%) of such teachers said that they had been specifically told that they had been denied progression because of their absence. Maternity and pregnancy discrimination is unlawful.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“The Government statistics illustrate the gender pay gap in teaching. A survey of our members shows that performance related pay is exacerbating the gender pay gap in teaching. Women’s Pay Day highlights the long term injustice and impact of gender stereotyping and pay awards based on biased sexist assumptions. Our members will continue to challenge sexist stereotypes in the classroom; the National Education Union will challenge unlawful discrimination in pay decisions. It is time for the Government to step up and offer a fair deal for women teachers.”

[1] in all state funded schools including academies in 2016. Department for Education (20 July2017), School Workforce in England: November 2016, London, Main tables: SFR21/2017 Table 9a

[2] in all state funded schools in 2016. Ibid, Table 9c

[3] in all state funded schools in 2016. Ibid, Table 9d

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