Motherhood pay gap shows progress on equality is inadequate, says ILO

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Women employees at a private company pack pharmaceuticals in Moldova. World Bank/Victor Neagu

Twenty years after governments pledged more equality for women at a global conference in Beijing, the International Labour Organization (ILO) says they continue to suffer widespread discrimination.

Mothers in the workplace are at a clear disadvantage, ILO maintains, with many suffering "wage penalties" when they have children.

The UN partner organisation says it could take decades to change the status quo and recommends measures to empower women in the workplace.

International Labour Organization (ILO) data shows that mothers earn up to 25 per cent less than women without children.

That's the figure for the UK.

In Germany, the difference is 15 per cent, and that's on top of the fact that women earn only 77% of men's take-home pay globally.

Here's Shauna Olney, who launched the Motherhood Pay Gap report in Geneva:

"When women take periods out, they don't recover from them as fast as men who take the same periods out, so I think just that bias is important to overcome."

ILO says there have been only "marginal" improvements in women's equality in the workplace in the 20 years since the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

This is despite a 50 per cent increase in the number of countries who've ratified agreements on equal pay and discrimination.

"Dead-end" and low-paid jobs continue to be done by a majority of women, ILO says, meaning that women are more likely to get a poorer pension too.

Unless something's done, the UN partner agency says it'll take 71 years before women earn the same as men.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’00″

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