MEN in Swindon continue to earn £3.71 per hour more than women – putting the town in the bottom 20 local authorities for the gender pay gap.

Yesterday marked Equal Pay Day across the UK, which campaigners say is the point in 2017 when a woman on an average wage stops being paid relative to their male counterparts.

Groups across the country took full advantage of the day to highlight how, despite it being 47 years since The Equal Pay Act was passed, women still earn substantially less than men.

In Swindon, the gender pay gap is 22.7 per cent which is equivalent to women working unpaid from October 8 until the end of the year.

Nationally, the mean gender pay gap for women working full-time is 14.1 per cent.

Campaigners say if this gap closes at the rate it has been doing over the last five years, it will not reach zero per cent until 2117.

Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre charity, believes action needs to be taken now rather than continuing to progress at a snail’s pace.

She added: “According to statistics for Swindon, women are earning significantly less than men than the national average. This is deeply concerning given the fact that Swindon is a growing town – as ever we ask growing for who – it would appear not for women.

“We can see that local and regional differences vary greatly and behind these statistics are women all over the country being constantly undervalued and underpaid.

“This persisting issue of unequal pay is another example of the continuing disparity in women and men’s lives.”

While the Office for National Statistics recently published data that showed the gender pay gap was at its lowest level since records began, it also found that despite this gradual improvement for women, there is a wide variation in the gap depending on age.

Vivienne added: “With our government due to report on how they are improving things for women and girls at the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women committee, we are extremely saddened and disappointed that equal treatment of women and girls is stagnating rather than improving.

“It is time for some serious, concerted action.”