Societal expectations

'Gender stereotyping' exists in society. Women are more likely to be encouraged into caring professions such as nursing or childcare, while men are more likely to take employment in engineering or computing, areas that tend to pay higher wages.

Attitude

There is some evidence that men and women have different aspirations in life. It has been argued that men are more likely to be career-orientated and that the pursuit of wealth and power drives men more to the top of their profession. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to seek 'emotional fulfilment', ie to have a life that satisfies in broader terms.

Discrimination

Despite government legislation, women continue to experience lower rates of pay and poorer employment opportunities. A report in 2013 in the Guardian newspaper claimed that as many as 50,000 women every year lose their job while on maternity leave, one in seven of all women on maternity leave.

In 2013, nearly two thousand members of UNISON won an equal pay claim against Scottish councils. This related to paying discriminatory bonus to employees working in traditionally 'male roles', that were denied to women carrying out different, but comparable work.

In 2013, Birmingham City Council agreed to make settlement payments to around 11,000 mostly female workers who had missed out on similar bonuses.

In 2014, a group of 23 male university workers from Wales received over £500,000 in compensation as they were paid less than female colleagues on the same grade.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that in 2011 in the UK there were 5,400 'missing women' from the 26,000 top employment positions.