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Business Girls members discuss Maidenhead's gender pay gap

Data has revealed the gender pay gap in Maidenhead is 28 per cent. Chief reporter Grace Witherden spoke to four successful women living in the borough who run their own businesses about this statistic.

The average pay gap between men and women who work full time in Maidenhead is 28 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Data in the annual survey of hours and earnings was based on a one per cent sample of jobs taken from HM Revenue and Customs pay as you earn (PAYE) records.

The gender pay gap was found by calculating the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women.

When asked about the gap, Maidenhead-based Amanda Ayres, founder of the Business Girls Network, said: “It’s shocking. I would like to see the council addressing this with some independent research.”

The study does not include people who are self-employed, which may contribute to Maidenhead’s high pay gap.

Marissa Holden, from Holden Media Productions, said: “There are so many women running their own businesses in this area.”

The women agreed that childcare may be a contributing factor in the gap as women face more challenges when returning to work after pregnancy.

Anna Verghese, who runs Isanda Consulting, said: “My husband works full time, I did until I had my daughter. We crunched a lot of numbers and it was only just financially beneficial for me to go to work, taking into account nursery fees.

“I know so many mums who are just waiting for their 30 hours’ free childcare to kick in from the government.”

Amanda said: “If you are a man there are all these different workshops and training courses available, but if you are a woman with kids at home you can’t access that. What if you can’t afford to pay for childcare or find childcare if you are a single mum?

“Communities like mine work because you have access to that, maybe in this situation men are being paid more because there are actually more barriers for women.

“I also sometimes think women are more passionate about what they do because they have to work a lot harder at it. It’s not as easy for them than as it is for a man when you are juggling lots of different things.”

In Windsor the pay gap was significantly lower, with the full time median percentage being 16 per cent, and in Slough it was 13 per cent.

Caroline Christer, who runs The Hand Foot and Beauty Studio and Maidenhead Podiatry, said: “I believe you should put the right person in the right job for the right money, and it doesn’t matter if they are yellow, blue or pink with spots.”

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