The most obvious and entrenched pay gap under capitalism is that between men and women. “Women’s work” is everywhere less well paid, for a variety of reasons. Unionising and fighting for women’s rights as workers is a big part of the solution to that problem. That is why it is heartening to see in the UK more and more women joining their union. (Although it is less good to see that while women’s rate of unionisation is increasing, male unionisation is declining.)
In autumn 2005 the rate of union membership (union density) among all workers was 26.2 per cent. This is a slight increase from 26.0 per cent in autumn 2004. This is mostly due to an increase in union density for women. That is higher for women (at 29 per cent) than for men for the second consecutive year.
But will these changes translate into gains for women workers? That remains to be seen.