The question of decent work is one that must be at the heart of discussions of gender equality. Women continue to face disadvantage in the workplace and are more likely to be in insecure, poorly paid employment that offers little opportunity to progress. Those sectors that are more likely to offer poor quality employment, such as care and retail, are also more likely to employ women.
The cost of this disadvantage is felt by women, but also the wider economy.
Chwarae Teg were therefore pleased to prepare this report on behalf of Oxfam Cymru during 2017. The context of these discussions in Wales has shifted slightly since the report and recommendations were written. The Welsh Government’s economic action plan has been published, which includes a welcome focus on securing inclusive growth. Notably, care and food and drink are included as key foundational sectors that will benefit from additional support and investment from Welsh Government, including action to improve career progression within them.
The Fair Work Board has been set up and a Chair appointed, and it has been made clear that the Board will be tasked with looking at issues such as the gender pay gap, as well as the broader fair work agenda.
In this context the findings from this report, and the other reports in this suite of studies, are all the more important. Securing decent or fair work for all must remain a top priority to ensure that prosperity truly is felt by all. These discussions must always include a gender lens, so that the continued economic inequality felt by women throughout Wales is tackled and the gender pay gap becomes a thing of the past.