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Men's and Women's Incomes: Evidence from Survey Data*

  • Sandra Hutton

Abstract

The article highlights the discordance between the reality and the perception of women's independence and equality. The changes in legislation and increased female participation in the labour market since the 1960s give the impression of considerable progress. Equal treatment of men and women has been proposed. Evidence from national survey data however, shows that women's income is still lower than men's with no matching increase with age and career. Social security policy has always been based on labour market participation but women's labour market participation is quite different from that of men. Because of childcare responsibilities many women work parttime at some time in their working lives. Equal pay legislation has had little influence on the incomes from part-time work. The failure of real income from part-time work to rise over time has been a major cause along with job segregation and the segmentation of the labour market in maintaining the difference between men's and women's incomes. Women's continued lack of personal income has consequences for the support for women and children, particularly evident in the case of lone mothers. The incomes available to a woman are unlikely to be high enough to provide an adequate independent living standard for herself and any dependent children.

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