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Government and employers ‘failing older women’

SCOTTISH employers and government have failed to respond to the challenges older women face in the workplace, leading to many feeling “invisible,” a report published yesterday found.

The Scottish Commission on Older Women concluded that while there was an increasing number of older women in work, the statistics masked widespread challenges on pay inequality, job insecurity and a lack of opportunities for older women to retrain or develop their careers.

Its report called on the Scottish government and employers to ensure pay transparency, improve flexible working arrangements to suit older women and ensure statutory entitlement to carers’ leave.

Older women, the commission said, often struggle with the responsibility of caring for grandchildren and elderly parents alongside work responsibilities — a struggle compounded by massive cuts to welfare and public services.

Evidence also showed that women between 50 and 64 suffered the largest degree of gender-based pay differences and were often in lower-skilled roles than their male counterparts.

STUC assistant secretary Ann Henderson told the Star that older women “make up a significant part of the workforce and contribute a huge amount to the economy through unpaid and paid work, so should not be made to feel invisible by employers.”

A report by the Chartered Management Institute yesterday found a similar trend across Britain.

It revealed that while the pay difference between female and male managers averaged 22 per cent, female managers over 60 were earning 38 per cent less than their male counterparts.

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