What About Women in London? Where is our equality?

Equality, Women in London, What About Women In London, Fawcett


In the run up to the London Mayoral elections, Fawcett, the UK’s leading campaign for equality between women and men has been taking a look at equality in the Capital.

The findings of the ‘What About Women in London’ study make me sad, though I’m not altogether surprised by them. But most of all, they makes me want to take action to put us London women and mothers up where we belong.  Cue Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes with a rousing Officer and A Gentleman rendition…

Ahem, anyway.

As I am a bit of a one for banging on about how society doesn’t value or support mothers as well as it could – check out A Mother’s Work Meme and Uk Mums Undervalued and Over Scrutinised to see me in full rant-mode – I want to highlight the stats of ‘What About Women in London’ that relate to working women and mothers:

Mind The Pay Gap:

Women in London experience a pay gap of almost 23 per cent – some fifty per cent higher than the national average of less than 15 per cent. This means that for every £100 men take home, women will take home an average £77

Childcare Crunch:

Childcare costs in London are typically a third higher than the national average

With these two glistening statistics, is it any wonder that Fawcett also established this disappointing fact?:

The Mother Of All Equality Scandals:

London has the lowest level of maternal employment in the country – just over half of London mothers with dependent children work, compared to almost two thirds across the UK.

Ceri Goddard, Fawcett’s Chief Executive, comments:

“London is not keeping pace with the rest of the country when it comes to equality between women and men. Women in London are more likely to live in poverty, experience a wider pay gap, and are less likely to work once they have children.

“Combining work and family life is much harder in London than in other parts of the country – there is a dearth of flexible working opportunities, and childcare costs are a third higher than the national average.

“Far from getting better, our analysis suggests the gap between women and men in London is set to widen. The toxic combination of rising women’s unemployment, cuts to welfare and the ever increasing cost of living in the capital city means that women in London face a bleak future.

“If things are going to change, it is critical that those in positions of influence start considering women as integral to their plans.”

Take a look at the full Fawcett ‘What About Women In London’ report and read Fawcett’s plans to defend and progress equality for the four million women living in London by joining with the LSE to invite all the leading Mayoral candidates to take part in the ‘What About Women’ pre-election hustings.

Feel strongly about equality? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  • http://www.pret-a-mummy.com Pret-A-Mummy

    It’s shocking, shocking. London is supposed to be forward thinking and lead the rest of the country. I assume the reason a lot of London women don’t return to work is partly the long hours expected and also the high cost of childcare compared to the rest of the country.

    • mother.wife.me

      You would think eh! In many ways it is, but at the same time, I think there are so many people keen to get on and get the good jobs, that they will put up with anything to keep in the rat race. I love London, but it is a tough place to stay afloat, let alone get ahead in, spesh with a young family in tow.

  • http://www.mothersalwaysright.com Molly

    I don’t live in London – but I’m not far away, in Berkshire. Have to say I’m not surprised by the findings though. None of my peers in London have kids yet, but they ALL say that when they do they’ll want to leave London. This is mainly because they can’t see being able to juggle the cost of living in London, with childcare and working (because none of them earn huge sums of money).

    • mother.wife.me

      Yip, most of my friends who have two children live on the edge or way out of London now and those pregnant with a second are also thinking of making the move. London has so much to offer and yet it is capable of sucking the life blood out of you, especially if you dare to start a family here!

  • http://older-mum.blogspot.co.uk Older Mum (In a Muddle)

    That was a shocking and scary read. Makes me want to vacate London as fast as I can – you would have thought London would be more forward thinking but no. Its not helped by the fact that for some women, especially if they are over forty, it can be much harder to return to work after a baby gap.

    • mother.wife.me

      Agree! I kind of had an inkling about most of it, but to see it written down like that gives you a punch between the eyes effect! I frequently think about escaping this wonderful city we call home, but realistically we are here for a few more years. Your point about returning to work over 40 resonates too. London is a very young society, which I love, but it does make me nervous for my future, to the extend I am setting up my own thing, so I can play by my own rules!

  • http://www.lulastic.wordpress.com Lulastic

    An unsurprising, but shocking non the less, read. I am absolutely convinced that the only answer is positive discrimination. It is the only way to break the cycle of women locked out of key/ powerful positions. It would also mean women who could only work part time due to mothering, like myself, might get a look in- rather than bring locked out of- managerial positions, which simply doesn’t happen at the moment.

    • mother.wife.me

      Something needs to change that’s for sure. We are living in the 21st century, with 21st century expectations for what we want to achieve and how we want to live our lives and yet so many workplaces and employers are stuck back in the days of MadMen. Flexibility as the norm for everyone would go a long way to creating a more even playing field for women and yes, perhaps positive discrimination, though I could just see the media backlash headlines being written!!

  • Sarah

    I have an issue with equality in general, because there just isn’t a way that we as parents can get it until men can have babies too. As they can’t, it means that the mother has most of the childcare to sort out, most if not all of the domestic work to do, and still mus, according to society, maintain a job in order to be a functioning and contributing part of society.

    I teach, therefore I have a job, do most of the housework, and organise my childcare, as well as work in the evenings. My son is of school age, and therefore it is right that I should be working, (and if I don’t there is no mortgage!) but where has the idea gone that men and women can celebrate their differences? Women’s liberation has just meant that we now have to have a job ON TOP of everything else, rather than instead of.

    I can understand looking for parity of wage and hours, but should mothers be there in the first place out of necessity? Should the men in their lives be able to be a man and get a job and dothe hours so that it pays enough? Would they be able to do this if we took working mothers of under school age children out of the job market, thus saving childcare at the same time?

    I don’t know. But I know that whatever women do, they are apparently stuffed.

    • mother.wife.me

      You make a really valid point. The thing is, society has changed immensely in the last 50 years. Women are highly educated and have careers. That is a fact. Some want to continue their careers once their children come along. Some would like to be full-time parents, but simply don’t have the choice, because there are bills that need to be paid. Some are able to be full-time parents.

      Whatever the situation, the cost of childcare in this country needs to be addressed. It is the highest in the world. And workplace flexibility needs to be addressed. If it became the norm for ALL employees, then mothers wouldn’t stick out like sore thumbs for requesting it or having it.

      Bear in mind too that in some Scandinavian countries fathers and mothers are able to divide up a total of up to 18 months of parental leave when a new baby is born. It isn’t quite the same as men being able to give birth, but it does level the playing field and also gives an important opportunity for fathers to bond and spend quality time with their children.

      There is much that could be changed in this country to benefit families. Appreciating and celebrating the differences between men and women is important, but so to is ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to lead the best life they can lead – men, women and most important of all, children.

  • http://amumsim.wordpress.com amumsim

    Oh, this is a long one sorry!
    Equality aside for a second – I find it difficult to get my head around what I should expect or demand. I left work when my maternity leave ended, the cost of childcare meant that we would only be slightly better off if I went back to work. For me it seemed silly to pay someone else to take care of my baby, in order for us to only be slightly better off.
    My boss had suggested that they were open to discussions about part time or flexible working but I knew my workplace and I knew they wouldn’t be able to offer the hours that would be acceptable to me, and those hours wouldn’t make financial sense but actually we had made a pragmatic decision that I would stay home with the baby, we knew it would be a financial struggle but we decided that was what we wanted.
    My profession is notoriously low paid, jobs are hard to find and every job vacancy is highly oversubscribed. I’ll probably never be able to go back into my profession.
    Essentially I have chosen not to work, when my boy goes to school I will look for a job. Should I expect to be able to go back into my profession and for my workplace to provide me with the hours and pay to suit me?
    In the meantime I have a full time job, I am contributing to society, I am bringing up (a super cute) child. This job is unpaid and (other than my husband), unsupported.
    I suppose what I’m asking is that should women’s choices be paid for or supported by businesses, workplaces or the state?
    Women go back to work for lots of different reasons, all of which I believe are valid and correct BUT it worries me that we have more and more pressure on us to work. This makes me feel guilty about staying at home, yet I would be filled with guilt about going to work.
    But going back to equality, when I do return to the paid workforce it will probably be to a part time retail position (like when I was 17), being paid flop all to serve customers, because I’m a mum. Not many men would have to face that prospect. That is utterly depressing.
    (sorry to all retail workers, but it is a shitty job)

    • mother.wife.me

      Hello! I think you have the same dilemmas that many of us have. I am also doing the stay-home thing because it feels the right thing to do for my daughter. But yes, the biggest concern is that many women who are well educated and have years of experience in their chosen profession aren’t able to a. return to it, b. progress as they would if they didn’t have children. Clearly no-one should be able to have their cake and eat it all the time, but it seems such a waste of time, £££ and effort for both the woman who has taken time to get educated and gain experience and for whoever footed the bill for her education – in most cases, the state, ergo everyone who pays taxes!

      The workplace is stuck 50 years behind the progress of womankind in this country. There are employers putting that right, but there are many that aren’t. A person doing a job should be paid for the job they do, not based on their gender. I could go on for pages but I won’t.

      Ultimately, my decision is to start up on my own, so I can make my own rules and be around for my daughter when she needs me. But I know this isn’t an option for every one. Being a mum comes with a whole bunch of stuff to deal with outside of caring for your child!!!