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Government inaction has allowed gender pay gap to widen, says Women and Work Commission

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The gender pay gap is not closing, and lack of Government action is to blame, the Women and Work Commission has found.

The Women and Work Commission report published today shows the gender pay gap has widened, with women being paid 22.6% less per hour than men - up from 21.9% in 2007.

The report recommends the Government has not taken enough action to review careers advice in schools as a means of preventing gender stereotyping.

The commission also prioritises the role of part-time and flexible working.

The Women and Work Commission was set up by in 2004 by the then prime minister, Tony Blair, to close the gender pay gap.

Sarah Williams-Gardener, director of Opportunity Now, a charity that works with employers to create equality for women in the workplace, said: "We welcome any measures that work to address the huge pay disparity between men and women. Pay inequality between men and women is certainly not good for women, for society, the economy nor individual organisations. In 2009 a person's gender should not have such a significant impact on their pay packet.

"Lack of progress in removing the gender pay gap appears to be due to many factors including complacency, fear of costs and ignorance about the importance of looking beyond headline figures to the genuine causes."

She added: "I am pleased to see that the report also prioritises the need for quality part- time and flexible working. A lack of quality flexible work means those who desire or need to work fewer hours are being forced into jobs where their skills and abilities are severely underutilised. If UK businesses are to survive and thrive they can not afford to waste this talent."