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Slight narrowing of gender pay gap provides no room for complacency

The hourly full-time gender pay gap has narrowed in the past year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures from the ONS's 2009 Annual Survey of Hourly Earnings show the mean hourly full-time gender pay gap has narrowed from 17.1% to 16.4% in the past year while the equivalent gender pay gap for part-time work has narrowed from 36.7% to 35.2%.

Commenting on the figures, Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: "While the slight narrowing of the gender pay gap is a cause for celebration, we cannot afford to become complacent. The rate of change over the past four decades has been glacially slow, and while some employers are taking positive action to root out pay inequality, most are not.

"That is why the Government's Equality Bill - set to increase transparency around pay - is so important. The bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to introduce measures preventing pay discrimination and enabling women to access justice when it occurs. The Equal Pay Act promised women equal pay with men nearly forty years ago. And while today's figures show we are slightly closer to the day women are paid equally with men, it remains scandalously far in the future."

The Fawcett Society is the UK's leading campaign for women's rights.