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Gender inequality in the UK - Statistics & Facts

In 2021, the United Kingdom ranked 23rd on the global gender gap index, placing it behind other European countries such as France, Germany, and Ireland. Prior to the current Prime Minister, the UK also had a female Prime Minister in Theresa May between 2016 and 2019. The UK's first female Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher who ruled the country throughout the 1980s, at a time when women were far less likely to hold the highest position of executive power. In the House of Commons, the heart of legislative power in the UK, there were 220 female Members of Parliament, elected in 2019, 104 of which belonged to the Labour Party. Indeed, the proportion of female MPs in the House of Commons has been increasing in almost every election since 1979, when it was just three percent, compared with 34 percent in 2019.

Gender pay gap

Only eight percent of FTSE 100 companies and 3.6 percent of FTSE 250 companies had female CEOs in 2020, while the share of executive directors who were women was 14.2 percent at FTSE 100 companies and 11 percent at FTSE 250 companies. The low share of women in top positions certainly contributes to the overall gender pay gap in the United Kingdom, which stood at 15.4 percent for all workers in 2021. The pay gap is even more pronounced among older age groups, and was in double figures for every age group that was above the age of 39. Certain industries and sectors also had a greater gender pay than the overall average, with the financial and insurance sector having a gender pay gap of 30 percent, the widest gap of any sector in the UK in 2021.

Views on gender equality

Attitudes towards gender equality have also changed considerably in recent decades. As recently as 1987, 48 percent of people in the United Kingdom agreed with the following statement "a man's job is to earn money: a women's job is to look after the home and family." Unsurprisingly, the share of people of who agree with this sentence has declined considerably, to only eight percent in 2017. In 2019, 55 percent of men agreed that achieving equality between men and women was personally important to them, while a further 29 percent identified themselves as being a feminist.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Gender inequality in the UK".

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