This project aims to investigate the gender wage gap (GWG) over the life course and across cohorts, using three CLS studies – the National Child Development Study, 1970 British Cohort Study and Next Steps.
The gender wage gap: evidence from the cohort studies
Employment, income and wealth
September 2019 – August 2022
Nearly half a century after the Equal Pay Act, women still earn less than men and convergence is slow.
The gap grows with family formation, as mothers spend time out of the labour market and face lower pay than previously on returning to employment, particularly part-time.
One view is that the GWG reflects conventional norms about the division of domestic labour, while others point to discriminatory practices in the workplace.
Growing concern about the persistence of the GWG and the way it evolves over the life course and across cohorts prompted the team to start examining the reasons for the GWG.
This project will use data from three CLS studies – the National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and Next Steps. It will provide a comprehensive analysis of the GWG across individuals’ lives across these three generations and up to the age of 60 in the case of the oldest.
The detailed information contained in these cohort studies, including genetic and childhood development data, will be exploited to provide new insights into wage formation, how the GWG evolved, and what policy instruments will be needed to create pay equality.
The study will address five related questions:
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1958 in Great Britain.
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1970 in Great Britain.
Next Steps, previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE), follows the lives of around 16,000 people born in 1989-90 in England.
Phone: 020 7612 6874
With a background in economic demography, notably on women’s lifetime incomes, Heather became the founder director of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), and of the Centre as a whole. She has retired from these roles but continues to provide advice within and beyond the department, based on that experience.
More recently Heather led a project, ‘Moving Home in the Early Years’ which compared the MCS with a cohort from the US. She is currently a co-investigator on two research projects about child development in the MCS: ‘Trajectories of Conduct Problems from Ages 3 to 11’ (Principle Investigator Leslie Gutman) and ‘Early family risk, school context, and children’s joint trajectories of cognitive ability and mental health’(Principal Investigator Eirini Flouri). In April 2017 Heather became the Executive Editor of the journal, Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies.